Gaia is the European Space Agency mission which will provide a stereoscopic census of our Galaxy through the measurement of high accuracy astrometry, radial velocities and multi-colour photometry. Gaia is scheduled for launch in the spring of 2013 and over the course of its five year mission will measure parallaxes and proper motions for every object in the sky brighter than magnitude 20 — amounting to about 1 billion stars, galaxies, quasars and solar system objects. It will achieve an astrometric accuracy of 10–25 μas, depending on colour, at 15th magnitude and 100–300 μas at 20th magnitude.
Multi-colour photometry will be obtained for all objects by means of low-resolution spectrophotometry between 330 and 1000 nm. In addition radial velocities with a precision of 1–15 km/s will be measured for all objects to 17th magnitude, thus complementing the astrometry to provide full six-dimensional phase space information for the brighter sources.
The GREAT ITN is a Marie-Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) which aims at preparing a generation of young researchers for the scientific exploitation of the Gaia catalogue data. The research carried out within the GREAT network will address four fundamental problems in Galactic Astrophysics: unravelling the origin and history of the Milky Way; tracing the birth place and understanding the astrophysical properties of the stellar constituents of our galaxy; deepening the understanding of planetary systems by linking the study of extrasolar planets with research into the origins of the solar system; take up the grand challenges offered by Gaia in the domains of the distance scale of the universe and the exploration of the transient sky.
This workshop is aimed at providing the GREAT PhD students with an introductory overview of the science that can be done with Gaia. An important aim is to stimulate collaborative research projects, in particular across boundaries of seemingly different topics such as for example the study of open clusters and the origins of our solar system. During the workshop the way the Gaia works and collects its observations will also be explained. In addition the students will be given the opportunity to carry out sample research projects on a simulated Gaia catalogue in order to get an impression of working with a vast and complicated data set.
The students are expected to give a short (5 minute, one slide) presentation of their research and to bring along a poster which will be posted in the Lorentz Center hallways throughout the week.
The workshop is open to PhD students or young postdocs from outside the network. However, this is by invitation only, and preference will be given to participants from institutes that are "associated partners" of the GREAT ITN.