Time & Location
21 Sept 2022, 20:00 BST – 22 Sept 2022, 22:00 BST
Coleshill Village Hall , Barracks Hill, Amersham, Coleshill, Amersham HP7 0LN, UK
About the Event
The European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite is mapping our Milky Way Galaxy from space. The satellite is measuring fundamental properties of stars: their distance (parallax), how they move (proper motions and radial velocities) and their atmospheric parameters. The mission is revolutionising astrophysics because its data are being used in nearly every field of astronomy - it has overtaken Hubble as the most scientifically productive satellite. I will summarise the content of Gaia’s Data Release 3, which will be released in June 2022. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to follow-up Gaia alerts on transient objects and asteroids.
George obtained his Astrophysics PhD, "Probing the Milky Way galaxy through thick and thin (discs and halo) with the Correlation Radial Velocities (CORAVEL) and Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) surveys" from Cambridge in 2007, supervised by Gerry Gilmore and Wyn Evans. Ever since then he has been a post-doc funded by the UK Gaia grant. After his PhD, he joined the e2v centre for electronic imaging (CEI) at Brunel University. The CEI (and George) moved to the Open University in 2008. During this position, George modelled Gaia's e2v CCD pixel architecture, including the Supplementary Buried Channel, as part of the DPAC Working Group (WG) Radiation Task Force, CU5 DU10 and CU6.
In 2010, George moved to the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), part of University College London, to become a Gaia Radial Velocity Spectrometer (RVS) Data Flow Scientist within CU6. As scientific lead of the MSSL Gaia team, George is involved in all aspects of MSSL's software contribution to CU6: Pre-processing, Calibration, Extraction and Multiple Transit Analysis. Through his RVS calibration role, George represents CU6 in the following DPAC WGs: Radiation Task Force, Offset Instability Task Force, Ground Based Observations for Gaia (GBOG) and Gaia Archive Preparation (GAP). He is also co-leading the Spectro Science Alerts and from January 2015 is a CU6 Deputy Manager.
The photo above is George's silhouette watching the Gaia launch live in French Guiana (the image is from a movie courtesy of Leanne Guy). George was unsuccessful in the 2008 ESA Astronaut Selection but was successful in 2009 in buying the inset photo from the Kennedy Space Center! As a Payload Expert, George helped to commission RVS after launch.
Since Gaia's launch, George has been very active in public outreach in the UK. This includes participation in the Gaia Live in Schools event, a Gaia teacher training event and the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.