A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 May 17, 12:32 -0700
That video may be location-limited. If anyone is unable to watch, here's a nice review article from S&T on some of the results emerging from early analysis of the data from the Gaia mission: Gaia Maps 1.7 Billion Stars. Yes, it's an amazing project, a triumph for ESA, the European Space Agency. European missions have now owned the subject of observational positional astronomy for nearly three decades, first with Hipparcos and now Gaia. Astronomers of all nationalities and at all skill levels will be mining the Gaia star catalog for decades ahead. Ignore the telescope, and hit the statistics! Countless discoveries await...
By the way, there is indeed a celestial navigation side to this. There used to be some minor uncertainty in the future positions of the true stars. Thanks to Hipparcos (and Gaia), we know exactly where the stars will be in a hundred years and even five hundred for the level of accuracy required by ordinary celestial navigation. Want the tables for "Pub.249 Vol. 1 Selected Stars" for the year 2095?? There's no reason we couldn't prepare them for publication right now... Note: This really applies more to Hipparcos data since Gaia actually doesn't observe the brightest stars, such as those used for navigation.