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What the Gaia space mission will reveal to us about vast objects: from planetary nebulae to quasars

Grant number: 06/04251-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2007
Effective date (End): December 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Astronomy
Principal researcher:Ramachrisna Teixeira
Grantee:Alberto Garcez de Oliveira Krone Martins
Home Institution: Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas (IAG). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The space mission GAIA is one of the most ambitious projects of the modern astronomy. With its launch scheduled to 2011, the GAIA satellite will observe more than one billion objects, generating an end-of-mission catalogue with completeness up to magnitude Vgaia=20. All those objects will have astrometric measures with unprecedented precision, between 4uas and 0.2mas, spectro-photometric measures between 330nm and 1000nm, and high-resolution spectrometric measures in the Ca II triplet region (between 847nm and 874nm). This ensemble of observations will provide us a better understanding of the formation, evolution, composition and structure of our Galaxy and beyond, since it will also observe a huge number of quasars (~500.000) and galaxies (10^6-10^7).At this moment, the mission is at the preparation phase, when all the data reduction and analysis tasks shall be defined. In this phase, detailed simulations are also performed – producing data that are equivalent to the one transmitted by the satellite –, as well as the development of means and methods to explore the data generated by those simulations.It is in the context of this mission, and especially of its preparation, that the PhD project here proposed shall be developed. Our attention will be aimed the extended objects that will be observed by the satellite (planetary nebulae, HII regions, galaxies, quasars, etc). At this phase, we are interested in the development of methods to detect those objects, as well as classify them from its observable parameters (mainly the spectro-photometric measurements) and determine its astrometry, all with the highest possible accuracy.The parameters obtained by the study of those objects with the GAIA satellite will certainly, in a near future, constitute a fundamental reference to a great number of Astronomical and Astrophysical domains, providing answers to a range of questions about stellar formation and evolution, planetary systems, chemical evolution of the galaxy, extragalactic astronomy, quasar structure and many others.

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