Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers


Speaker Meeting

Gaia and our stellar neighbours
Friday 19th February 2021
Start time : 20:00

Speaker : Alex Binks

The Gaia satellite has, in no uncertain terms, revolutionised our understanding of our Galaxy. In April 2018, the second data release from Gaia gifted us with extremely precise position, proper-motion and distance measurements for a whopping 1.7 billion stars: that's about thousand times higher precision and more than ten thousand times more stars observed than ever before! In this talk I would like to share with you some of the major discoveries about our Solar neighbourhood in the past 2 years that simply wouldn't have been possible without Gaia. Understanding the youngest nearby stars is vital since we can: (1) directly observe planetary systems in extremely high resolution; (2) provide crucial tests for our understanding of the formation and evolution of stars, brown-dwarfs, disks and planets and (3) learn about the nurseries from which our youngest stellar neighbours came from and the natal cloud from which our own Solar System was born. I will then discuss the future of this field, which lies in enormous Galactic surveys that are going to be commonplace throughout the 2020s and beyondAbout our speaker:

Alex Binks is a postdoctoral research associate in stellar astronomy, currently at Keele University. He specialises in finding and investigating the youngest stars near to the Sun and in improving techniques to estimate the ages of young stars.

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