Gaia - CU9: Delivering Gaia to the Community

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Institute of Astronomy

Abstract

Gaia is the cornerstone ESA mission which will provide the first astrometric census of the sky. One billion sources will be surveyed, allowing major advances in Galactic structure and evolution, stellar evolution, solar system dynamics, exoplanetary systems, cosmology and fundamental physics. Gaia is scheduled for launch in December 2013. Its huge data set will revolutionise much of astrophysics, provided astronomers can access and understand the data. This proposal is to support the UK leadership roles in Gaia data delivery to users, especially in archive design, science requirements specification, documentation, and support for public-access interface software.

Planned Impact

While the primary motivation for Gaia is to revolutionise our understanding of our Universe, Gaia is also a software and technology mission. Gaia UK technology development has two aspects. Industrial developments, for example of new
classes of CCDs, ESA-funded at e2v, are already proving of wider importance, have earned the UK the Euclid contract, and are generating other new international markets. Precision control systems, and on-board real-time image processing
systems (Astrium Stevenage) are intended to be applied much more widely. There are many ESA-UK industry-UK academic partnerships built on Gaia.
The majority of development however involves fast complex processing of huge data volumes, and the development of tools to allow fast public access to huge and complex data sets. This naturally builds on and expands the eSci and virtual
observatory developments of late. The Cambridge developments in very large database systems (Hadoop) have been adopted mission-wide, illustrating one more area of technical leadership. Gaia will be the next `big beast` in data volumes,
with Gaia learning experience already showing applications to astronomy (Euclid) and wider implications for science and aspects of the digital economy. Big Data problems generically involve gathering subsets of the data for further exploration
and visualising those data in some fashion. The techniques already in use in TOPCAT provide some important software approaches, and the developments to be driven by this work will be applicable to other fields, for example visualising
remote sensing data monitoring deforestation.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Arenou F. (2017) Gaia Data Release 1: Catalogue validation in ArXiv e-prints

publication icon
Arviset C. (2016) The Gaia Archive: VO in Action in the Big Data Era in Astronomical Surveys and Big Data

publication icon
Belokurov Vasily (2016) Clouds, Streams and Bridges. Redrawing the blueprint of the Magellanic System with Gaia DR1 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Blagorodnova N (2014) gs-tec: the Gaia spectrophotometry transient events classifier in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Blagorodnova N (2015) Gaia transient detection efficiency: hunting for nuclear transients in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Blagorodnova N. (2016) Gaia transient detection efficiency: hunting for nuclear transients in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Bouquillon (2016) Gaia-GBOT asteroid finding programme (gbot.obspm.fr) in AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #48

publication icon
Buzzi Raffaella (2016) AVU/BAM: software refurbishment (design and implementation) for the CU3 Gaia verification pipeline in Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV

 
Title Gaia artist in residence 
Description one million objects in space exhibition 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact lots of interest in science from the arts community 
URL http://gaia.ac.uk/latest-events
 
Description delivery of the ESA Gaia mission data to the UK public. Definition of user interfaces. Provision of key supporting software tools. Documentation. Especially documentation!
Delivered 2nd Gaia data release, to massive global public interest
Exploitation Route model for other ground and space mission data systems

tested application to UK Human Genome Project HPC systems
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/data-release-2
 
Description provide the model for definition of the interfaces between potential users and very large, complex data sets widely used to illustrate Big Data challenges in fields outside academic - eg navigation trained highly-skilled people who moved on to industry and other challenges
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description support for uk astronomy research community
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact trained UK scientsists in Gaia data access. In consequence UK authors are the largest national contributor to Gaia research papers.
 
Title Gaia-ESO Survey 
Description building the first large trans-european collaboration in stellar spectroscopy 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact the methodology we developed is the basis for all major future planned stellar spectroscopic surveys. 
 
Title design improvement sto the ESA ESAC database system 
Description The ESA Gaia data are hosted inside ESAC, the main ESA data system. UL-led improvements to the design of ESAC to manage the large and complex Gaia data set are underway. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Gaia is one of the most popular space data sets worldwide. The design advances are being made available to support the UK IRIS national data-intensive computing system 
 
Title operational improvements to the HADOOP data processing system 
Description the Cambridge-based Gaia HADOOP data processing system was used during commissioning by the Cambridge/UK HPC system team to enhance security processes on multi-user HADOOP systems. This will influence design and implementation of the UK national genomics data system 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This will influence design and implementation of the UK national genomics data system 
 
Title Gaia data release DR1 
Description the first ever data giving a 3-D measure of the local universe. A unique moment in history 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Gaia DR1 revolutionised study of the Milky Way, stellar evolution, and very much more. 
URL https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/data-release-1
 
Title Gaia data release DR2 
Description the first ever 6-D view of our local universe. Opening a new window. This is a unique advance in astrophysics. precise data for 1.7billion sources. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact over 800 scientific papers have been published based on Gaia data in 2018 alone. 
URL https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/data-release-2
 
Description Cambridge DiRAC 
Organisation STFC DiRAC Data Analytic Cluster (HPC Facility Cambridge)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution state of the art hardware system which provided expertise and experience to support Cambridge's DiRAC leadership role.
Collaborator Contribution experience with security of a real large data system
Impact knowledge
Start Year 2016
 
Description European Space Agency - ESA 
Organisation European Space Agency
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution define, develop and implement the spectro-photometric, spectroscopic and crowded imaging data processing system for the ESA Gaia mission; discover and publish science alerts from Gaia data; manage the data release documentation system, design (aspects of ) the archive structure
Collaborator Contribution manage the Gaia mission, host and operate the public data access system through ESAC
Impact during 2018 over 800 science papers were published from public Gaia data
 
Description Gaia alerts schools collaboration 
Organisation The Institute For Research In Schools
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution we provide gaia Alert science discoveries suitable for school follow-up, and information to support the project
Collaborator Contribution They find the school, identify the class, organise the work, and deliver the results. They aslo bring the school class to media events.
Impact media events
Start Year 2014
 
Description Gais-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey 
Organisation National Institute for Astrophysics
Department Arcetri Observatory
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution co-leads
Collaborator Contribution co-leads
Impact 450-person collaboration, 96 Institutes, over 70 papers so far. This is the biggest large-telescope stellar survey project ever attempted.
Start Year 2012
 
Description continuing collaboration with aerospace industry 
Organisation Airbus Group
Department Airbus Defence and Space UK
PI Contribution joint development of outreach, joint development of policy meetings, prize talks to invited groups, prize award ceremonies
Collaborator Contribution joint development of outreach, joint development of policy meetings
Impact joint outreach activities - support for most of the many listed elsewhere (about 40 events in total). Presentations/interactions with policy groups
 
Description continuing collaboration with public media 
Organisation British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Department BBC Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution this partnership covers all relevant UK and international media. It includes all the UK national newspapers, many international news agencies and sites, and many free-lance journalists, as well as specialist science media and journals. This is an ongoing more frequent than monthly series of interactions
Collaborator Contribution they disseminate the information
Impact major education of public, influence of decision makers on space science outcomes
 
Title TopCat 
Description TOPCAT is an interactive graphical viewer and editor for tabular data. Its aim is to provide most of the facilities that astronomers need for analysis and manipulation of source catalogues and other tables, though it can be used for non-astronomical data as well. It understands a number of different astronomically important formats (including FITS, VOTable and CDF) and more formats can be added. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact very widely used. It is the basis of much research literature. 
URL http://www.star.bris.ac.uk/~mbt/topcat/
 
Description Big Bang Fair 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact BigBang fair visited by 1000's of school pupils for STEM impact
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Big Bang Fair March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact "Big Bang" national science fair at NEC Birmingham
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk
 
Description Gaia at the British Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Raising awareness of Gaia science mission by meeting general public.

Increased visibility of Gaia mission.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/british-science-festival
 
Description Gaia data release media events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact media event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Mapping the Stars: Tania Kovats in Conversation with Professor Gerry Gilmore 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Gilmore and Tania Kovats will look back over the year and will discuss the history of mapping the stars as well as the cultural implications of Gaia.

Built on art-science colaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://gaia.ac.uk/events/archive/mapping-stars-tania-kovats-conversation-professor-gerry-gilmore
 
Description NV201A13: Space as a Context for Teaching Science - The Gaia Spacecraft Mission to Map the Milky Way 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a 4-day (3-day residential course followed by one day conference) CPD course for further education lecturers, post-16 teachers and secondary teachers.

Increased visibility of Gaia project with UK educators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/cpd/ondemand/7782b195-330d-4511-80df-4f1a5e2d7c80/space-as...
 
Description Stargazing Live 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gaia was featured in Episode 3 of the very popular BBC Two TV programme Stargazing Live.

Lots of questions from public to live TV show.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://gaia.ac.uk/events/archive/stargazing-live-2014
 
Description TV interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact TV interview which was picked up internationally and by UK government for STEM publicity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.cambridge-tv.co.uk/Professor-Gerry-Gilmore-Gaia-Satellite/ 
 
Description The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Members of the Gaia team on hand to explain the exciting science behind the Gaia mission to members of the public.

Raised profile of the UK participation in the Gaia mission.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sse.royalsociety.org/2014/
 
Description cambridge science festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact several public lectures over 2 weeks and an open day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015
URL https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/
 
Description media interviews, TV and other media broadcasts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This groups media interviews, TV and radio and other interviews and enquiries, press releases and feedback on those. These happen on average once per 2 weeks, from global sources. Initially many start as background enquiries, so the input determines what is given high media profile.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
 
Description national Gaia outreach programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact dozens of events, with up to 3million audience

stfc and uksa are setting up a corrdinated national program.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
URL http://gaia.ac.uk
 
Description public lecture ROG London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public talk, london
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description public open days, MSSL, Cambridge and Edinburgh, RAL, Leicester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact these events happen several times per year, at each of the 5 main Gaia data centres, and are a primary interface between institutes and the public. They are hugely popular and Gaia display are always requested.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
URL http://www.gaia.ac.uk/latest-events
 
Description radio interview - naked scientists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact radio interview, with international re-broadcast
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
 
Description talk to IoP members, July 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact public lecture and discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description talks to public groups/societies/clubs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact talks are given at least once per month to invited groups. these include societies, industry talks, policy talks, student groups, and many other clubs and groups. Some are private dinners for senior figures, some per-/post dinner talks for policy/industry groups, many for the interested public. They are gathered under this item, but include some 15-20 events every calendar year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
 
Description teacher CPD event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact teacher Gaia science CPD event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
 
Description we run a very active Gaia outreach and CPD sheme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact we take part in dozens of activities, talks, etc. see the list at http://gaia.ac.uk

much interest
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://gaia.ac.uk