Hipparcos

The High Precision Parallax Collecting Satellite of the Hipparcos Space Astrometry Mission was a project of the European Space Agency (ESA) dedicated to the measurement of stellar parallax and the proper motions of stars. The project was named in honor of Hipparchus. The satellite was used to measure the distances to 2.5M+ stars, within 150pc of Earth; resulting in the Tycho Catalogue. The Hipparcos plans were proposed in 1980. The satellite was launched, by an Ariane 4, on August 18 1989. Communications were terminated on August 17, 1993.

The program was divided in two parts: the Hipparcos experiment whose goal was to measure the five astrometric parameters of some 120,000 stars to a precision of some 2 to 4 milli-arcsec and the Tycho experiment, whose goal was the measurement of the astrometric and two-colour photometric properties of some 400,000 additional stars to a somewhat lower precision.

The final Hipparcos Catalogue (120,000 stars with 1 milliarcsec level astrometry) and the final Tycho Catalogue (more than one million stars with 20-30 milliarcsec astrometry and two-colour photometry) were completed in August 1996.
The catalogues were published by ESA in June 1997. The Hipparcos and Tycho data have been used to create the Millennium Star Atlas: an all-sky atlas of one million stars to visual magnitude 11, from the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues and 10,000 nonstellar objects included to complement the catalogue data.

See Also:

  • Full-Sky Astrometric Mapping Explorer
  • Space INterferometry Mission
  • GAIA

See also: The Hipparcos Space Astrometry Mission

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