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Europe’s Gaia telescope grapples with stray light

The orbiting Gaia telescope will lose some performance because stray light is getting inside the observatory, the European Space Agency (Esa) says. But the impacts are likely to be very small, scientists believe, and the expectation is that all the mission’s chief objectives will still be met. Most of the unwanted light appears to be creeping around the giant shield Gaia uses to shade itself from the Sun. The “pollution” makes it harder for the observatory to see the faintest stars. “I must say this is not a major problem,” said Esa’s Gaia project manager, Guiseppe Sarri. “The point is the spacecraft is doing very well in terms of everything is working, and…