3.5 meters, a diameter of 10 meters and a total weight of 2 tons. The impressive French Gaia telescope will take off Thursday Guyana. In reality, Gaia has two telescopes. They are capable of detecting a 400,000 times lower than that visible to the naked eye but also equivalent to measure the diameter of a hair at a distance of 1000 km light.
High photographic precision. To fulfill its mission well realize a 3D atlas of the Milky Way, Gaia has a Photographic sensor billion pixels. For comparison, a conventional digital camera has approximately 12 million pixels.
Solar Energy. to function, the telescope will be equipped with, among other things, solar panels with a power of 1,900 watts. Much more powerful than those used by individuals to harvest energy, which in turn revolve around 200W of solar panels.
data en masse . To transmit the collected images, Gaia will be connected to the Earth at a rate of 5 megabits per second. Data will be sent for eight hours and daily. In total, this amounts to a petabyte is a million-gigabytes-of data for the five year mission.
Three instruments. The telescope also has three instruments. An astronomical instrument enabling it to determine the position, movement and distance of stars, a photometric instrument to measure their brightness and color and a spectrometer to specify the type of their light
With all this equipment, Gaia should report by 2019 or 2020, a three-dimensional mapping of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In all, nearly a billion stars that will be mapped, an impressive number at first sight but that represents only 1% of star bursts in our galaxy.