To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
ELSA (European Leadership in Space Astrometry) is a four-year, EU-funded Research
Training Network ending in September 2010. It has employed 10 postgraduate students and 5
postdocs for 2–3 years and financed a number of workshops, training events and topical
meetings, culminating in the present symposium. The primary goal of ELSA is to train young
scientists in the context of the Gaia project while contributing to the scientific
preparations for the mission. The organization, aims and history of ELSA are outlined.
Gaia is an ESA mission to build a census of our Milky Way Galaxy. This is done with a
suite of three instruments combining two fields of view into a single focal plane.
On-board detection of all sources will ensure a bias free survey down to the 20th
magnitude. In addition to astrometry also photometry is done down to the 20th magnitude.
The third, spectroscopic instrument will provide radial velocities down to the 17th
magnitude of the Galactic stellar population. Currently the scientific requirements on
Gaia are largely met except for bright stars for which in astrometry additional efforts
are needed to squeeze the remaining μarcsecs out of the positional
information error budgets. In the mid-magnitude range (15 mag) the end of mission parallax
errors are from 10 to 25 μarcsec and photometry errors are between 5 and
16 mmag. Radial velocities are better than 1 km s-1 for the bright stars with
errors increasing to 15 km s-1 for the faintest ones. At the moment there are
no unsolvable technical challenges on the table and Gaia is progressing toward the launch
Gaia is the sixth cornerstone of the ESA Scientific Programme. Beginning 2006, the
programme implementation phase was kicked off at Astrium Satellites. At summer 2010 all
Critical Design Reviews of the modules have been passed successfully, which enables to
give a good snapshot of the development progress. This presentation summarizes the history
of the satellite programme. The status of the current development will be presented with a
focus of the main challenging equipment, with a particular insight on the payload.
For more than ten years, a collaboration of European scientists has been producing
simulations of the Gaia mission. These simulations range from detailed realistic simulated
CCD images to large volume simulations of the Gaia telemetry.
The data of this decade of simulations has been used for many purposes: instrument
design, data processing software testing and validation, prediction of mission
performances, etc. Today the launch date is getting closer and the task of the simulator
in the mission preparation will be wrapped up in a couple of years.
However, this is not the end of the story since the Gaia simulator can also be used for
the preparation of the scientific exploitation of the Gaia data. In this talk we will
present the simulator and its components, the data it can produce and the perspectives for
the utilisation of this data during the mission, both for data evaluation and scientific
Testing instrument capabilities is a crucial issue for Gaia, where high level
performances are expected. This activity involves many aspects: simulation of the
instrument through suitable modelling, comparison of the models with the actual
instrument, as well as producing evaluation methods, which are strictly related to the way
data will be processed and calibrated. In this paper I discuss the interconnections among
these aspects, and provide some example from the current testing activities.
Algorithms aimed at the evaluation of critical quantities are based on models with many
parameters, which values are estimated from data. The knowledge, with high accuracy, of
these values and the control of their temporal evolution are important features. In this
work, we focus on the latter subject, and we show a proposed pipeline for the BAM (Basic
Angle Monitoring) Long Term Analysis, aimed at the study of the calibration parameters of
the BAM device and of the Basic Angle variation, searching for unwanted trends, cyclic
features, or other potential unexpected behaviours.
A detailed study of the Hipparcos attitude exposed events in the satellite’s motion
(micro-meteorite hits and clanks) that require special adaptations in the attitude
reconstruction modelling. Identifying these events in the data stream, and incorporating
them in a specially designed dynamical attitude modelling, has led to an overall reduction
in the attitude reconstruction noise from 3 mas down to 0.6 mas. Considering that the main
noise contribution on the astrometric data for stars brighter than magnitude 8 in the
Hipparcos catalogue originated from the attitude reconstruction, and that this noise led
to correlated parallax errors for neighbouring stars, it was decided to redo the
astrometric reductions of the Hipparcos data. This was completed in 2007, and resulted in
the publication of a new catalogue. The lesson to be learnt for Gaia is, that
incorporating a detailed understanding of the satellite’s motions in the attitude
modelling can have a significant impact on the overall reliability of the final
astrometric data produced by the mission.
The Gaia Attitude Model (GAM) is a simulation package that is developed to achieve a
detailed understanding of the Gaia spacecraft attitude. It takes into account external
physical effects and considers internal hardware components controlling the satellite. The
main goal of the Gaia mission is to obtain extremely accurate astrometry, and this
requires a good knowledge of Gaia’s behaviour as a spinning rigid body under the influence
of various disturbances.
This paper describes the damage occurring in CCDs exposed to solar radiation and explains
its implications for the Gaia measurements by focusing on the astrometric instrument. It
introduces the strategy that will be used in the Gaia data processing to mitigate the
radiation induced effects, and presents CEMGA (CTI effects Models for Gaia) a
multi-purpose platform which hosts different models that simulate radiation effects on
To fulfil its numerous science objectives, the Gaia mission needs to account for the
impact of the radiations at CCD level. Through the defects generated in the silicon, the
radiations will not only degrade the overall signal-to-noise ratio of the measurements,
but also corrupt them with a bias to be corrected on ground. In order to characterize this
effect, and help deriving a proper calibration strategy, an extensive radiation test
campaign has been carried out in EADS Astrium since 2006, covering the different
instruments and CCD variants. We present an overview of this radiation test bench, and the
different investigations performed so far and associated findings.
The Gaia pixel-level data simulator GIBIS (Gaia Instrument and Basic Image Simulator,
Babusiaux (2005)) provides detailed artificial data for all three instruments on-board the
Gaia spacecraft. This data is used for the preparation of procedures required for the
analysis of real Gaia data to come during the mission. Among the effects that strongly
affect all Gaia data, that therefore have to be modelled with GIBIS, is charge transfer
inefficiency (CTI). CTI, caused by radiation-induced microscopic defects in the CCD
detectors, becomes manifest in a distortion of the line spread functions of observed
objects, as well as in a loss of photo-generated charges inside the window allocated to
each observed source. It affects the astrometric, photometric, and spectroscopic accuracy
of the data. The CTI effects on a particular observation depend on observations done
before, on CCD operations such as gate activity and charge injections, and on physical
effects such as the sky background brightness and cosmic ray events in the detectors. In
this paper, an approach for the simulation of CTI with GIBIS is presented and the
influence of the sky background brightness and cosmic ray events of CTI is discussed in
The paper summarizes the current status of light detectors in astronomy with focus on
space science missions. Due to the effort and time needed for the necessary space
qualifications, new technologies potentially interesting for space applications are
commonly developed and tested for use at on-ground observatories and flown once the
technology has matured. But the space environment also requires the development of special
detectors for spectral ranges only detectable beyond earth’s atmosphere or the development
of features and technological enhancements, for example to mitigate space radiation
effects. An overview of detector technologies from the visible to short wavelength
infrared (SWIR) band together with an outlook to the challenges of a next generation of
light detectors for space astronomy missions.
A considerable amount of computing power is needed for Gaia data processing during the
mission. A pan European system of six data centres are working together to perform
different parts of the processing and combine the results. Data processing estimates
suggest around 1020 FLOP total processing is required. Data will be transferred
daily around Europe and with a final raw data volume approaching 100 TB. With these needs
in mind the centres are already gearing up for Gaia. We present the status and plans of
the Gaia Data Processing Centres.
This paper is a summary of a presentation done during the ELSA conference in Sèvres, on
June 7th 2010 to describe the actions of the French space agency for space astronomy.
It starts by remembering what was done for Hipparcos, then on more recent astronomy
programs. It describes the supporting role of CNES for the French astronomy laboratories,
and the acting role in the DPAC consortium for the Gaia data processing: CNES is
integrating the scientific chains of object processing (CU4), spectroscopic processing
(CU6) and astrophysical parameters (CU8) in one processing centre. It will be operated in
CNES during the whole Gaia mission.
Life science researches have been profoundly impacted by technological advances allowing
faster and cheaper DNA sequencing. Opening a wide range of applications in medical and
biology, the last generation sequencing platforms raised new challenges, in particular in
processing, analysing and interpreting massive data. In this talk, the growing role of
bioinformatics will be illustrated by providing some figures about genome sequencing and
others applications aimed at unravelling biological mechanisms. Methods to gather insights
from massive amount of data will be illustrated by the genome annotation process, by which
genes are identified in the genome sequence.
In this paper we discuss a few aspects of the data volume to be generated by the ESA
space astrometry mission Gaia. This volume is assessed first from the on-board point of
view in the form of the instantaneous number of sources in the combined astrometric fields
of view as a function of time. Then one focuses on the data flow for the data processing
itself measured by the number of objects entering the pipeline every day. Finally the
combination of the on-board acquisition scheme with the number of stars per day gives the
actual telemetry volume to be transferred to the ground and its variation during the
Java is one of the most widely used computer programming languages, however its use in
High Performance Computing (HPC) is relatively low. A typical HPC environment consists of
a number of multi-core computing nodes, while a typical application running in such an
environment will normally contain CPU intensive code that can be executed in parallel.
Such an application may require inter-node as well as intra-node communication. Message
Passing Interface (MPI) is a language independent specification of an API to allow such
communication. MPJExpress (Baker et al. 2006) and F-MPJ (Taboada et al. 2009) are Java-based implementations of MPI, designed with the efficient
performance of data transfers as a main objective. In this paper we discuss the
scalability of one approach of distributing data to compute nodes in HPC and we propose
the design of an alternative data transfer system, building upon MPI.
We outline the basic principles of scanning space astrometry, such as represented by
Hipparcos, Gaia, and some other astrometric satellites planned or proposed. We explain the
need for large-angle measurements, why these are essentially one-dimensional, how it is
possible to determine absolute parallaxes, and why a Hipparcos-type scanning law is
favourable. We discuss the choice of the basic angle between the two viewing directions,
the principle of self-calibration, and why the resulting numerical problem must be
difficult to solve.
The astrometric global solution is a principal component of the final star catalogue. It
is the solution of a relatively complex least-squares problem related to Gaia’s design
that can only be solved using an iterative process. Hopefully we found an efficient
converging algorithm with a robust stopping criterion. Nonetheless the usage of an
iterative algorithm imposes some limitations on our knowledge of the statistical
properties of the solution such as the variance which need to be investigated further
through simulation techniques.