A virtual journey, from our Solar System through the Milky Way, based on data from the first release of ESA’s Gaia satellite.
The journey starts by looking back at the Sun, surrounded by its eight planets. We then move away from the Sun and travel towards and around the Hyades star cluster, the closest open cluster to the Solar System, some 150 light-years away.
The 3D positions of the stars shown in the animation are drawn from the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS), which combines information from Gaia’s first year of observations with the earlier Hipparcos and Tycho-2 Catalogues, both based on data from ESA’s Hipparcos mission.
This new dataset contains positions on the sky, distances and proper motions of over two million stars. It is twice as precise and contains almost 20 times as many stars as the previous reference for astrometry, the Hipparcos Catalogue.
The journey continues showing the full extent size of the stars contained in the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution, all relatively near to the Sun, in the overall context of our Milky Way galaxy.