Participation in the Gaia Scientific Networks

Several networks have been organized at national and international level to get ready for the challenges Gaia will bring to the scientific community.

The Spanish Network for Scientific Exploitation of Gaia (REG) created in 2010 under our team initiative, groups 195 scientists from more than 30 institutes. This network open to the Spanish astronomical community aims to promote the interchange among astronomers in all those research lines related to the scientific exploitation of the data that Gaia will provide. There are 12 working groups coordinated with the GREAT working groups. The network meets at least once a year in plenary and parallel sessions.

GREAT (Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training) is an European science driven research infrastructure which facilitates, through focused interaction on a European scale, the fullest exploitation of the Gaia mission, enabling the European astronomy community to provide answers to the key challenges in our understanding of the Galaxy and Universe. GREAT is the programme which brings together relevant scientific expertise by promoting topical workshops, training events, exchange visits, conferences and so forth with the aim of addressing the major scientific issues that the Gaia satellite will impact upon.

These key topic areas are:
• Origin, structure, and evolution of the Milky Way
• Stellar astrophysics
• Galactic Dynamics
• Galactic Archaeology
• Star Formation and evolution
• Fundamental physics and the Reference Frame
• Extrasolar planets
• Binary Stars
• The Solar system
• The IT Data Challenge from Gaia

GREAT provides support through the European Science Foundation (GREAT ESF) Research Networking Programme for a wide range of community proposed events covering the key objective areas of the programme, largely focussed on gaining a deeper understanding of our Milky Way. This programme ran Feb 2010 to Aug 2015. The Spanish delegate of the GREAT-ESF was Carme Jordi.

From 2019, the COST Action Revealing the Milky Way with Gaia (MW-Gaia) provides European leadership in understanding the Galaxy, its stars and planets, enhance the potential of the community in its scientific exploitation of the observations of more than a billion stars with the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, and enhance the development of the next steps in astrometry and space astrometry missions. The Action brings together key stakeholders from across Europe, to leverage expertise, and develop new techniques to fully maximise the scientific returns from Gaia’s rich and complex data. Carme Jordi is the Action ViceChair and the IEEC is the Action Grant Holder.

In addition the related GREAT ITN (Initial Training Network) programme was supported by the EC through its FP7 Marie Curie programme under grant agreement 264895. GREAT-ITN (Apr 2011 – Aug 2015), born from the success of ELSA (2006-2010), also a Marie Curie RTN, was devoted to the training of young scientist. Francesca Figueras is the coordinator of the Barcelona node, and Hoda Abedi and Max Palmer developed their PhD under this programme as ESR (early stage researchers).

As new Doctoral Networks, the group has been awarded with two Doctoral Networks beginning on 2023. Revealing the Milky Way with Gaia (MWGaiaDN) with two ESR in the same collaboration than GREAT ITN. And a new Doctoral Network “Exploring the Deep Universe by Computational Analysis of Data from Observations (EDUCADO)” with one ESR in Barcelona.

Our team also has participated in the Gaia ESO Survey (GES), a collaborative observational project born in the framework of the GREAT network. The public spectroscopic survey was granted with 300 nights in 3 years. Its aim was to acquire high.resolution spectra with FLAMES and GIRAFFE instruments at VLT to derive precise radial velocities and detailed chemical abundances for those stars Gaia will not do.

For those clusters that cannot be observed by GES, including the oldest, the most metal-rich and a few anticentre Open Clusters, our group develops a project in collaboration with the IAC, OABo (Italy) and OCA (France), the Open Clusters Chemical Abundances from Spanish Observatories (2013-2015). The OCASSO project aims to determine homogeneous abundances for more tha 20 chemical species for red clump stars in a sample of 25 Northern open clusters older than 0.5 Gyr. These objects cover wide ranges of ages, metallicities, heights above the plane, and Galactocentric distances.. We have been awarded 5 nights per semester (2013 – 2015) and telescope (FIES/NOT and HERMES/Mercator). These data will allow us to properly analyse the existence of trends in the Galactic disk. This will double the total number of Open Clusters sampled by GES. Since 2013, we have observed more than 190 nights and a total of 57 Open Clusters have been fully observed, 40 of them for the first time.