Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census

Gaia Data Release 1 Bristol workshop

Programme (FINAL v20161107)

Please check back as this page will be updated before the meeting (until marked as FINAL)

10.30-11.00 Coffee    
11.00: Gaia Mission and Status Nigel Hambly pdf
11.25 What's in Gaia DR1 Giorgia Busso pdf
11.45: Usage of Astrometric data (inc handling of errors) Nick Rowell pdf
12.15: The Gaia data archive - intro in how to access Gaia Data and use of ADQL in the ESA archive. Deborah Baines pdf
12.45-13.45 Buffet lunch    
13.45: Use of Gaia DR1 data from TOPCAT Mark Taylor pdf
14:15: API access with Python to the Gaia DR1 data Mark Taylor pdf
14.45-15.00 Coffee (and split into breakout groups)    
15.00: Participants Use Cases    
16.30: Participant Feedback and Wrap-Up    
16.45 Close    

Date and location

Weds 9th November 2016

The workshop will be on the 3rd floor of the H H Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TL. Entrance is from Tyndall Avenue, as shown by this map. You can find information about getting to Bristol at

The morning session will be in room 3.34, the afternoon including breakout sessions in 3.21 and 3.27.

Please contact Mark Taylor (m.b.taylor at if you have any further questions.


Breakout groups indicated [A: Room 3.21] or [B: Room 3.27] 

  • Theo Le Bret (Oxford) [B]
  • Catherine Hohenkerk (HM Nautical Almanac Office) [A]
  • Avon Huxor (Bristol) [B]
  • Christopher Manser (Warwick) [B]
  • Susan Nelmes (HM Nautical Almanac Office) [A]
  • David Wilson (Warwick) [B]
  • Mark Birkinshaw (Bristol) [B]
  • Paresh Prema (HM Nautical Almanac Office) [A]
  • Rhys Morris (Bristol) [A]
  • Diana Worrall (Bristol) [B]
  • Mike Hawes (Herts) [B]
  • Peter Allan (RAL) [B]
  • Joseph Armstrong (Keele) [A]
  • Rob Jeffries (Keele) [A]
  • Matthew Green (Warwick) [A]
  • Nick Wright (Keele) [A]
Updated 20161031

Tutors (Groups A, B)

  • Debbie Baines (ESAC, ESA) [B]
  • Giorgia Busso (IoA, Cambridge)  [A]
  • Nigel Hambly (IfA, Edinburgh) [B]
  • Nick Rowell (IfA, Edinburgh) [A]
  • Mark Taylor (Bristol)  [A]
  • George Seabroke (MSSL/UCL) [B]

What to Bring

Each attendee is requested to bring a personal laptop.

Wireless access is available to all attendees. Eduroam is the preferred access mechanism, but alternatively The Cloud wi-fi can be used.

Pre-Meeting Software

All attendees will get the chance to use the Gaia archive tools in the afternoon sessions. Please aim to install the following software (if you don't already have them). 

Installing the 'helper' clients.

Java is required by Topcat and Aladin: any recent java version is OK, but Oracle/Hotspot Java SE (from is recommended rather than OpenJDK.  On linux you can run “java -version” to see which you have.

Instructions for installing Python

Some scripting access will be provided using python. 

If you don’t already have a Python (scientific) stack on your computer, you can easily install the Anaconda stack. This comes with “batteries included”, and comes packed with numpy (numerical python), scipy (scientific python), Astropy (astronomical Python library), and matplotlib (a plotting library).   You can get the Python 2.7 or Python 3.5 Anaconda version from:   If you don’t know which Python version to chose, then select Python 3.5 (graphical or command line installer -- either is OK).  

Background Material and Breakout Sessions

During the breakout sessions, the tutors and attendees will aim to work through a number of the use cases that attendees have suggested at the time of registration. In addition, attendees can work through cases that they suggest on the day, with help from the tutors.  

Attendees and tutors are encouraged to keep a running log (please edit this Google Doc) of what they work on during the breakout sessions. This will be a public document, hence will be shared with however discovers this link. 

The Gaia DR1 data can be found at:

Help information on the use of ADQL can be found at: TOPCAT Specific information:  


Lunch and teas / coffee refreshments will be provided for all attendees.