Animated 3D view of the sky as observed by ESA’s Gaia satellite using information from the mission’s second data release.
The bright band in the left half of the image is the Milky Way, where most of the stars in our Galaxy reside. The animation starts with the Orion constellation at the centre; we then move towards the neighbouring Taurus constellation and to the Hyades star cluster, which is part of this constellation. Hyades is the closest open cluster to the Solar System, some 150 light-years away.
The animation first shows the 3D structure of the cluster, based on accurate position and distance information from Gaia. Then an animated view of the future motions of stars is shown – both in Hyades and beyond. This is based on Gaia’s measurements of the velocity of stars across the sky, also known as proper motion.
Acknowledgement: Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC); Gaia Sky; S. Jordan / T. Sagristà, Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Germany