First Ph.D. thesis on the initial data processing of real data of the Gaia mission

“High Performance computing of massive astrometry and photometry data from Gaia” is the first Ph.D. thesis dedicated to the initial data processing of real data of the Gaia mission. The author is Javier Castañeda, researcher at the Astronomy and Meteorology Department. It will have its defense on 15 December 2015 at the Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona.

Gaia is an extremely ambitious astrometric space mission adopted within the scientific programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) in October 2000. It aims to measure with very high accuracy the positions, motions and parallaxes (distances) of more than a billion stars and Galactic objects. it also includes information about their brightness, colour, radial velocity, orbits and astrometric parameters. Gaia requires a very demanding data processing system on both data volume and processing power. The treatment of the Gaia data has been designed as an iterative process of several systems, each one solving different aspects of the data reduction process.

In this thesis, Javier Castañeda, under the supervision of Claus Fabricius and Jordi Torra, addresses the design and implementation of the Intermediate Data Updating (IDU) system. IDU is the most demanding instrument calibration and data processing system, in data volume and processing power of Gaia. Without this system Gaia would not be able to provide the envisaged high accuracies. IDU is fundamental to achieve the optimum convergence of the iterative process on which all the data processing of the spacecraft is based.

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Monday, 14 December, 2015