Gaia on its way to L2 – DE

Gaia on its way to L2, taken by Pi of the Sky in Huelva (Spain) on the 19th evening. Stack of 30 images of 10 second exposure each.

ESA’s Gaia mission is aimed to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home Galaxy. The Soyuz launcher, operated by Arianespace lifted off at 09:12 GMT on Dec 19 with Gaia on board. A few hours after, one of the GLORIA telescopes, the Pi-of-the-Sky-North experiment at the BOOTES-1 astronomical station at ESAt/INTA-CEDEA in Huelva (Spain), recorded the spacecraft on its route towards an orbit around a gravitationally-stable virtual point in space called L2, some 1.5 million kilometres from Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun.