Gaia is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, launched into space to produce a multidimensional map of the billion brightest objects in the sky. Gaia’s high-precision measurements have the potential to revolutionise astronomy, from solar system asteroids to stellar evolution and the structure and formation history of our Milky Way, to General Relativity and the cosmic distance ladder.
As well as all this, Gaia is discovering new and variable objects every day. These are swiftly published to allow follow-up observations by professional and amateur astronomers and schools.
In this talk, Dr Anna Hourihane will give a broad introduction to the Gaia satellite, with a focus on Gaia’s new discoveries of variable or transient objects. She will also introduce some of the highlights from Gaia’s first data release, which took place on 14 September of this year.
Anna Hourihane completed a PhD in Astrophysics at University College Cork in 2011, investigating populations of compact binaries in globular clusters and in the Galactic field. Her research interests include using observations of stellar populations as probes of stellar evolution and of the formation of structure in the Galaxy. For the past four years she has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge on Galactic science projects related to the Gaia space mission to map the Milky Way. She has a special interest in public engagement in