Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census

Gaia Data Release 2 London workshop


FINAL: v20180521

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

10.30-11.00 Coffee    
11.00: Welcome and Gaia Mission and Status Nicholas Walton pdf
11.15: What's in Gaia DR2 Nigel Hambly pdf
11:45 The Gaia data archive - intro in how to access Gaia Data and use of ADQL in the ESA archive. Giorgia Busso pdf
12.15: Usage of Astrometric data (inc handling of errors) Floor van Leeuwen pdf
12.45: Radial Velocity data in Gaia DR2 George Seabroke pdf
13.00-14.00 Buffet lunch    
14.00: Use of Gaia DR2 data from TOPCAT Mark Taylor pdf
14:30: API access with Python to the Gaia DR2 data Nigel Hambly pdf
14:45 Participants Use Cases (split into two breakout groups)    
15.30-15.45 Coffee    
15.45: Participants Use Cases (continued)    
16.45: Participant Feedback and Wrap-Up    
17.00 Close    

Date and Location

Tues 22  May 2018

The workshop will be held at Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BQ, which hosts the Royal Astronomical Society, See the RAS page for directions.

Coffee , Lunch and the breakout sessions will be in the Council Room on the second floor, whilst the morning talks will be in the ground floor lecture theatre. 

Breakout Sessions:


Breakout groups ([A], [B]) are indicated: 

​Updated 20180522

  • John Barnes (OU) [A]
  • Ioana Ciuca (MSSL, UCL) (PhD student) [B]
  • Tom Crossland (UCL) (PhD student) [A]
  • Graham Fleming (UCLan) (MSc student) [A]
  • Keith Inight, Liv JM (MSc) [A]
  • Catriona Murray (IoA, Cambridge) [B]
  • John Murrell (Amateur astronomer) [B]
  • Heidi Thiemann (OU) [A]
  • Eugene Vasiliev (IoA, Cambridge) [B]
  • Andrew Wilson (Exeter) (PhD student) [B]
  • Silvia Zane (MSSL, UCL) [B]
  • ...

Tutors (Groups A, B)

  • Giorgia Busso (IoA, Cambridge) [B]
  • Nigel Hambly (IfA, Edinburgh)  [B]
  • Floor van Leeuwen (IoA, Cambridge)  [A]
  • George Seabroke (MSSL, UCL) [Remote dial in]
  • Mark Taylor (Bristol) [A]
  • Nicholas Walton (IoA, Cambridge)  [A/B]

What to Bring

Each attendee is requested to bring a personal laptop.

WiFi: wireless access is provided via the RAS wifi network

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). 

ESA Gaia Archive

If you don't alread have an account on the ESA Gaia archive, then please register for one. 

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 DR2 data can be found at:

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

Gaia via TAP 

Andy Casey provides a TAP interface for those using python - see - this can be installed with the 'pip install gaia-on-tap' command (you might need to 'sudo' this). 


Lunch and teas / coffees will be provided for all attendees.