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Space Park Leicester celebrates 10th anniversary of Gaia space observatory

Space Park Leicester is delighted to announce a special event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Gaia space observatory

To mark this milestone, Professor Martin Barstow, a renowned astrophysicist and a leading expert in space sciences at the University of Leicester, will host an engaging and informative talk on December 14th at 2:00 pm at Space Park Leicester.

The Gaia space observatory, a cornerstone mission for the European Space Agency (ESA), was launched on December 19, 2013, with the primary goal of creating the most detailed 3D map of our Milky Way galaxy.

Researchers from the University of Leicester have been at the forefront of the Gaia Collaboration, which is responsible for the spacecraft that is currently building the largest and most precise three-dimensional map of our galaxy.

The University’s contribution to this international project is led by Professor Barstow and has included Drs Claudio Pagani, Steve Sembay, Andy Read, Duncan Fyfe and Patricio Ortiz. The overall UK Gaia Project is led by Dr Nicholas Walton from the University of Cambridge. Other partners are University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Bristol and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Over the past decade, it has made significant contributions to our understanding of the cosmos, cataloguing billions of stars, discovering exoplanets, and unravelling the mysteries of our galaxy’s formation and evolution.

Professor Martin Barstow, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Space Park Leicester and a past President of the Royal Astronomical Society, has been instrumental in advancing our knowledge of the cosmos. His talk, titled “10 years of mapping the Milky Way – a silent revolution in astronomy” will provide a fascinating journey through the achievements and insights gained from the Gaia mission.

Martin Barstow is Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Space Park Leicester

The event is open to the public and will take place at Space Park Leicester in Corporation Road, Leicester. Space enthusiasts, students, and anyone with an interest in the wonders of the universe are encouraged to attend this insightful event.

Professor Barstow said: “The most fundamental measurement that can be made of any star is its location in space – where it is on the sky and its distance from the Earth. For thousands of years humans have been trying to make these difficult measurements and each new catalogue has advanced our understanding of the Universe.

“The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission has produced a series of new star catalogues and is celebrating its 10th anniversary in space. The Gaia spacecraft is producing measurements of unprecedented accuracy but also providing such data for around 2 billion objects and the results are spectacular, reaching out into every corner of astronomy.

“The Gaia data constitute a silent revolution in our understanding of the Universe as they will underpin everything we know about planets, stars and galaxies. This talk will provide an introduction to the Gaia mission and present some of the highlights of its 10 years of operations before looking at what is likely to come from Gaia in the future.”

To secure a ticket at this special event, please register in advance by visiting Eventbrite.

For more information about Space Park Leicester, visit or to learn about the University of Leicester visit