A Journey to the Hyades

This virtual journey from our Solar System to the Hyades star cluster is based on data from ESA’s Gaia satellite. The journey moves away from the Sun and travel toward and around the Hyades star cluster. It’s the closest open cluster to the Solar System, some 150 light-years away.

The 3D positions of the stars shown in the animation are drawn using information from Gaia’s first year of observations. This new dataset contains positions on the sky, distances, and proper motions of over two million stars. It is twice as precise and contains almost 20 times as many stars as the previous reference for astrometry, the Hipparcos Catalogue.

The animation zooms out to show the full extent size of the stars contained in the dataset, all relatively near to the Sun, in the overall context of our Milky Way galaxy. The final Gaia catalogue will contain the most detailed 3D map ever made of the Galaxy, charting a billion stars—only about 1% of the Milky Way—to unprecedented accuracy.

Video Credit: ESA