GAIA Data Release 2 (GDR2)

Gaia Data Release 2 was released on the 25 April 2018. A description of the contents of Gaia DR2 is given below.


  • The five-parameter astrometric solution – positions on the sky (α, δ), parallaxes, and proper motions – for more than 1.3 billion (109) sources, with a limiting magnitude of G = 21 and a bright limit of G ≈ 3. Parallax uncertainties are in the range of up to 0.04 milliarcsecond for sources at G < 15, around 0.1 mas for sources with G=17 and at the faint end, the uncertainty is of the order of 0.7 mas at G = 20. The corresponding uncertainties in the respective proper motion components are up to 0.06 mas yr-1 (for G < 15 mag), 0.2 mas yr-1 (for G = 17 mag) and 1.2 mas yr-1 (for G = 20 mag). The Gaia DR2 parallaxes and proper motions are based only on Gaia data; they do no longer depend on the Tycho-2 Catalogue.
  • Median radial velocities (i.e. the median value over the epochs) for more than 7.2 million stars with a mean G magnitude between about 4 and 13 and an effective temperature (Teff) in the range of about 3550 to 6900 K. This leads to a full six-parameter solution: positions and motions on the sky with parallaxes and radial velocities, all combined with mean G magnitudes. The overall precision of the radial velocities at the bright end is in the order of 200-300 m s-1 while at the faint end the overall precision is approximately 1.2 km s-1 for a Teff of 4750 K and about 2.5 km s-1 for a Teff of 6500 K.
  • An additional set of more than 361 million sources for which a two-parameter solution is available: the positions on the sky (α, δ) combined with the mean G magnitude. These sources have a positional uncertainty at G=20 of about 2 mas, at J2015.5.
  • G magnitudes for more than 1.69 billion sources,  with precisions varying from around 1 milli-mag at the bright (G<13) end to around 20 milli-mag at G=20. Please be aware that the photometric system for the G band in Gaia DR2 is different from the photometric system as used in Gaia DR1.
  • GBP and GRP magnitudes for more than 1.38 billion sources, with precisions varying from a few milli-mag at the bright (G<13) end to around 200 milli-mag at G=20.
  • Full passband definitions for G, BP and RP.
  • Epoch astrometry for 14,099 known solar system objects based on more than 1.5 million CCD observations. 96% of the along-scan (AL) residuals are in the range -5 to 5 mas, and 52% of the AL residuals are in the range of -1 to 1 mas. The transit observations are part of Gaia DR2 and have also been delivered to the Minor Planet Center (MPC).
  • Subject to limitations (see below) the effective temperatures Teff for more than 161 million sources brighter than 17th magnitude with effective temperatures in the range 3000 to 10,000 K. For a subset of about 87 million sources also the line-of-sight extinction AG and reddening E(BP-RP) are given and for a part of this subset (around 76 million sources) the luminosity and radius are available as well.
  • Classifications for more than 550,000 variable sources consisting of Cepheids, RR Lyrae, Mira and Semi-Regular Candidates as well as High-Amplitude Delta Scuti, BY Draconis candidates, SX Phoenicis Candidates and short time scale phenomena.
  • Planned cross-matches between Gaia DR2 sources on the one hand and Hipparcos-2, Tycho-2, 2MASS PSC, SDSS DR9, Pan-STARRS1, GSC2.3, PPM-XL, AllWISE, and URAT-1 data on the other hand.

overview of Gaia Data Release 2 in numbers

Total number of sources 1,692,919,135 1,142,679,769
Number of 5-parameter sources 1,331,909,727 2,057,050
Number of 2-parameter sources 361,009,408 1,140,622,719
Sources with mean G magnitude 1,692,919,135 1,142,679,769
Sources with mean GBP-band photometry 1,381,964,755
Sources with mean GRP-band photometry 1,383,551,713
Sources with radial velocities 7,224,631
Variable sources 550,737 3,194
Known asteroids with epoch data 14,099
Gaia-CRF sources 556,869 2,191
Effective temperatures (Teff) 161,497,595
Extinction (AG) and reddening (E(GBP-GRP)) 87,733,672
Sources with radius and luminosity 76,956,778

distribution of Gaia Data Release 2 sources in G-band magnitude

Percentile All 5-parameter 2-parameter
0.135% 11.6 11.4 15.3
2.275% 15.0 14.7 18.5
15.866% 17.8 17.4 19.8
50% 19.6 19.3 20.6
84.134% 20.6 20.3 21.0
97.725% 21.0 20.8 21.2
99.865% 21.3 20.9 21.4

Background of the data

Gaia DR2 data is based on data collected between 25 July 2014 (10:30 UTC) and 23 May 2016 (11:35 UTC), spanning a period of 22 months of data collection (or 668 days), as compared to Gaia DR1 which was based on observations collected in the first 14 months of Gaia's routine operational phase.

The reference epoch for Gaia DR2 is J2015.5 (compared to the J2015.0 epoch for Gaia DR1). Positions and proper motions are referred to the ICRS, to which the optical reference frame defined by Gaia DR2 is aligned. The time coordinate for Gaia DR2 results is the barycentric coordinate time (TCB).