An all-sky view based on the first year of observations from ESA's Gaia satellite, from July 2014 to September 2015. This map shows the density of stars observed by Gaia in each portion of the sky. Brighter regions indicate denser concentrations of stars, while darker regions correspond to patches of the sky where fewer stars are observed. A number of artifacts are also visible on the image. These curved features and darker stripes are not of astronomical origin but rather reflect Gaia's scanning procedure. As this map is based on observations performed during the mission's first year, the survey is not yet uniform across the sky. These artifacts will gradually disappear as more data are gathered during the five-year mission. Learn more -- and download much larger versions of the map -- at ESA's website.
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Original image data dated on or about September 14, 2016