A million miles from Earth, there is a peculiar point in space called "L2," where the gravity from the Sun and Earth strike a special balance. There, a spacecraft called Gaia is slowly rotating, once every six hours. As it rolls, its two telescopes scan the sky making the most precise map of the cosmos ever created. This talk will be an overview of the science of mapping the heavens, stretching back to the ancient Greeks and extending to the ongoing Gaia mission. I will share some of the ways that Gaia is revolutionizing all aspects of astronomy from quasars to stars to exoplanets.
About the Series
Stargazing Lectures are free lectures at a public level followed by guided stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting). All events are held at the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech. No reservations are needed. Lectures are 30 minutes; stargazing lasts 90 minutes. Stay only as long as you want.
Stargazing is only possible with clear skies, but the lecture, slideshow, and Q&A takes place regardless of weather.
For directions, weather updates, and more information, please visit: http://outreach.astro.caltech.edu.