GAIA Space Observatory Searches for New Asteroids

The GAIA space observatory platform was launched in 2013 into a stable Lagrange orbital point known as L-2. L-1 is a stable point on the Sun side of Earth and L-2 is a mirror of that but on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. GAIA is a project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and is designed to collect astronomical observation information for the purpose of creating the most comprehensive and accurate star map ever created. So far, the GAIA catalog and 3D map contains more than a billion stars.

Data from GAIA is now being used for the first time to identify new asteroids. Ground based software searches bring attention to objects that have not been previously observed. These become candidates as new asteroids.

GAIA TURNS ITS EYES TO ASTEROID HUNTING – [esa.int]

Whilst best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA’s Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the Solar System. Now, for the first time, Gaia is not only providing information crucial to understanding known asteroids, it has also started to look for new ones, previously unknown to astronomers.

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