How to count a billion stars? Lenovo knows / Blog company Lenovo / SurprizingFacts

When the state decides to conduct a census, the experts simply walk from one door to another and record the residents. When it comes to counting stars, the task is much more difficult.

The "Census of the Stars" has already begun: the project is being carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA). It is believed that the collected information will help to learn new facts about the origin and evolution of the galaxy.

The main goal of the project is to create the largest and most accurate three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. But even after the end of the study, an atlas with a billion stars will represent only one percent of the total utilization of celestial bodies in the Milky Way. Nevertheless, the project will help to understand where we came from in the universal understanding.


The Gaia telescope was launched in 2013. He creates a 3D map, and scientists see the progress of the formation and evolution of the galaxy. Gaia will provide unprecedented measurements in the motion of celestial bodies, which will allow achieving new heights in terms of accuracy.


Gaia weighs two tons, and the width is 10 meters. The device is able to distinguish not only the stars, but also planets, comets, asteroids and quasars (very bright astronomical objects). On board Gaia – two telescopes and a camera with a billion pixels. The device slowly flies around the Sun, and telescopes continuously scan everything around.

Gaia makes a turn in six hours. Telescopes take pictures of rectangular fragments of the sky, which are separated by an angle of 106.5 degrees. In each telescope there are six mirrors: three flat and three curved. They focus and "add" the received light, which is sent to the focal plane into the camera at a distance of 35 meters.

The device will examine each of the key objects about 70 times over five years to determine the most accurate location of celestial bodies. High-precision measurements based on the received information should become a real revolution in astrophysics. To understand the complexity of the problem, imagine that scientists want to measure the thickness of a human hair from a distance of a thousand kilometers.

What does Lenovo

In the bill of billions of planets, the key parameter is accuracy. This is exactly what Lenovo is doing. Gaia requires advanced technologies that can process a huge array of data without errors. To this end, ESA renewed the contract with Lenovo, having concluded a five-year cooperation agreement. To work on the project, the team of scientists obtained the Lenovo NeXtScale technology, which will allow to work with a large amount of information.

Lenovo has been cooperating with the ESA center on the Gaia project since 2011, even before the satellite was launched. The final amount of data after the completion of the mission will be more than 1 petabyte – it's a million gigabytes or 200 thousand DVDs.

Lenovo's collaboration with ESA is another evidence of Lenovo's commitment to the market for high-performance devices. In 2015, we opened an innovation center in Stuttgart. It became a platform for the rapid development of research, development and testing of products.

Lenovo also joined the European program on high-performance computing. This think-tank plays an important role in determining the priorities for research and project activities.


ESA published the first data packet from the mission in September 2016. Then the project manager Fred Jensen said that he was satisfied with the accuracy and quality of measuring 500 billion data. The files have already been distributed among scientists for study.

The next step: to compile an atlas of a billion stars. This will happen in April 2018. The scientific community with a sinking heart is waiting for the full volume of data.

They say that you can not find out where you are going until you understand where you came from. We live in the Milky Way, and it is very important that soon people will learn more about their home. And also about where to go next.

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