The accurate determination of the distances separating the different stars from us is one of the most challenging observing data in astronomy. This is the main goal of the European space mission Gaia: the determination of accurate distances of almost all the stars close to the Solar System. The determination of their magnitudes and effective temperatures are also added goals for the mission.

Gaia is a benchmark mission for modern astronomy. Billions of stars are being observed and their parallaxes determined with an unprecedented accuracy. The main impact of these determinations into THOT project is that stellar luminosities can be estimated with precisions of the order of 10%. This precision was exceptional in the past, and now it is the rule thanks to Gaia. With these luminosities, in particular, we will be able to estimate precise stellar masses, radii and, in the near future, stellar ages. Stellar dating with these new data becomes easier and more reliable.

Gaia DR2 is a clear improvement with respect to DR1, with more accurate determinations and some systematics corrected. In THOT Results you can find the first study “Empirical relations for the estimation of stellar masses and radii (accepted to ApJS)” done by our team thanks to these incredible data. Of course, the number of very diverse studies done with this DR2 is enormous and increasing every day. The impact is huge! and in many astrophysical fields.

These are very exciting times for astronomers, and the near future is even better: More Gaia DR, James Webb Space Telescope, TESS, CHEOPS, etc.

Image courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA)