Working towards an accessible catalogue


Gaia Coordination Unit 9 (CU9), including the Gaia Archive team, are responsible for the design, implementation and operation of the Gaia archive, the access point to the mission data. The archive already performed wonderfully at the first release of Gaia data (DR1) in September 2016 when only in the first 24h of availability it served about 17.000 queries and 22.5TB of data. Since then it has been reliably serving Gaia data to the community, and it has now been upgraded and enhanced to serve the second Gaia data release (DR2).

The CU9 is composed of more than 120 scientists and engineers from all around Europe and the rest of the world. It is a multidisciplinary group that has assumed the many faceted task of building an archive system able to cope with the complexity and volume of the Gaia data and the stringent and diverse needs of the archive users.

The CU9 working groups have tackled a variety of tasks needed to implement such a system, including software architecture, hardware selection and operation, documentation, validation of the Gaia data and system testing. The result has been an archive that is delivering the promise of Gaia, making its results available to the community. Included in the archive is a visualisation system able to cope with the billion-star Gaia datasets and provide a powerful interactive view of its contents.

Furthermore, the CU9 work has gone beyond the archive itself, and has created a community of data centers that also serve the Gaia data to their local communities, providing both data access redundancy and specialisation. The CU9 has also encouraged the development of tools compatible with the archive, providing the users with extended functionalities.

Apart from providing access to the Gaia catalogue and the above described tasks, also documentation efforts are coordinated by CU9 as well as outreach tasks for the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium. Also validation of the data is an important aspect of the work in CU9.

The story does not end here. CU9 and the Gaia Archive team will keep working to improve the Gaia archive, providing more and better functionalities with each Gaia data release. As our motto says, we work to deliver the promise of Gaia, to you.


Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, Xavier Luri, the entire CU9 team and the Gaia Archive team

Published: 25 April 2018


New tutorials in the Gaia Archive

Some new tutorials are now available from the Gaia Archive help tab:

  • A tutorial on Datalink and light curves explaining the use of dataink and how to download the epoch photometry.
  • A tutorial on Query timeouts which gives clues on how to proceed when the query fails or is too long.
  • A tutorial on "Astrometry Inference"

Next to the tutorials there are many videos explaining the data and the limitations that come with it. These can be found here. Some examples of subjecst are "on the use of Gaia parallaxes", "remarks on the data reduction paper", "Gaia DR2 validation". There are many more.

A Guide for Scientists - Gaia DR2 Simple Archive Queries


A Guide for Scientists - Gaia DR2 Advanced Archive Queries