Last night, Nick James, based in the UK, captured some fantastic views of Gaia as it departed Earth en route to L2, about 1.5 million km away from Earth opposite the Sun. The video acquired at about 01:00 GMT this morning.
(Editor's note: Several other very good images have just been shared and we'll get them posted as soon as possible.)
Well done, Nick! And thanks for sharing!
Time lapse movie of the Gaia spacecraft taken using a C11 telescope and an ST9XE CCD camera. Each frame is a 5-second exposure and the animation is played at 25 fps. At the time the images were taken, Gaia was around 158 000 km away about 16 hours after launch. The field of view is 13 arcminutes square.
Nick got his great shots from his back-garden observatory in Chelmsford, Essex, around 50km NE of central London. Thanks, Nick!