Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census

The Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, DPAC

The processing and presentation of the Gaia data is the responsibility of 9 coordination units (CUs) that together form the Gaia DPAC. Two units provide development support, CU1 for technical aspects, and CU2 through data simulations. Three units are responsible for the data processing, CU3 for the astrometric data, CU5 for the photometric data and CU6 for the spectroscopic data. Three units do basic data analysis on the processed data, CU4 for double stars, orbital binaries and solar system objects, CU7 for variable stars, and CU8 for spectral classification. Finally, CU9 will take care of the intermediate and final publication of the Gaia data. The activities of the CUs are coordinated through the DPAC Executive (DPACE), which consists of the CU managers, the DPACE chair and deputy chair, and, as observers, the project scientist and the project coordinator. DPACE meets twice a year and in between has monthly video conferences. The DPACE is the main point of contact for the Gaia Project Team at European Space research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) at ESA  for all issues to do with data processing and publication. Other specialist committees coordinate the activities of the data processing centres and various calibration tasks.

Within DPAC the UK participates in three CUs. CU5 (photometric reductions) is led from Cambridge, with further participation from Edinburgh, LeicesterRutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and the Open University in the UK, and Bologna, Rome, Teramo, Barcelona and Leiden outside the UK. CU5 has about 80 members, of whom around 40 are active developers. CU5 includes the Cambridge Data Processing Centre for Gaia (DPCI). CU5 is led by Floor van Leeuwen, the DPCI is led by Francesca De Angeli. Groups at  Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and the Open University, led by Steve Baker and Mark Cropper, provide software for CU6, the processing of the radial velocity spectrometer. That software is implemented at CNES in Toulouse, France. These activities are all supported by the UK Space Agency. Finally, there is a small amount of participation in CU9, which coordinates all aspects to do with the data releases. This covers in particular documentation, data access and visualisation, and involves next to Cambridge and Edinburgh also Bristol University, where Mark Taylor developed and maintains TOPCAT software. These activities are supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC.

More information about DPAC on ESA's website.

Page last updated: 16 July 2024