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Today's Colloquium: First results from the analysis of the Gaia Data Release 1: A box full of chocolates

Submitter: Amina Helmi
Description: A new era has begun in Astrophysics driven by the launch of the European satellite Gaia. Gaia is currently mapping our Galaxy by measuring distances and motions of one billion stars with exquisite accuracy and unprecedented detail. It is fair to say that the impact of this space mission on our understanding of galaxy evolution and dynamics will be extraordinary.

Last September, Gaia produced its first data release. In this talk I will present some first results from the exploration of this dataset. This first analysis reveals a rather complex and rich structure for the halo of our Galaxy, indicating that mergers have played an important role in the build-up of the Galaxy.

About the image: The Milky Way disk is embedded in a roundish halo of stars. The stars (in purple) are from a computer simulation of the remains from a merger with a small galaxy. The arrows indicate the motion of these stars that are now part of the halo. We expect that tens to hundreds of such flows of stars are crisscrossing the Milky Way.
Copyright: Amina Helmi/Jovan Veljanoski/Maarten Breddels/University of Groningen
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