'Starquakes' found in biggest ever Milky Way study that will 'revolutionise astronomy'

ITV News Science Editor Deborah Cohen reports on why scientists are so excited by Europe's Gaia telescope's latest batch of data

Stars experience quakes just like we have on Earth, experts have discovered as part of a detailed Milky Way survey which experts believe will "revolutionise all the fields in astronomy".Gaia - a robotic spacecraft launched in 2013 by the European Space Agency (ESA) - has already mapped the positions of nearly two billion objects but its newest data release has allowed it to reveal more about their make-up.

The latest observations add stellar temperatures, colours, masses and ages based on spectroscopy, which slices the light coming from stars into its constituent colours, reflecting varying wavelengths.

"The information is so amazing that it will revolutionise all the fields in astronomy," Rocio Guerra, from the ESA, said.

"Starquakes", also known as non-radial oscillations, are among the unexpected discoveries, as Gaia was only designed to pick up on radial oscillations that cause stars to change their size. Gaia space observatory is located about 1.5 million kilometres from Earth and carries two telescopes to document the galaxy.

The observations from the European Space Agency’s Gaia probe cover almost two billion stars. Credit: ESA

ITV News caught up with Tim Peake at a red carpet event for Disney and Pixar's animated movie Lightyear, which centres on the character Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise.

Peake - who was the first Briton to live aboard the International Space Station, back in 2016 – told our Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda that the Gaia developments are "hugely exciting".

"As technology moves on we are learning so much more about the universe that we live in and it is unbelievable," he said.

"James Webb space telescope, another example, is going to be giving stunning images and helping us to unlock the secrets of the universe."

Tim Peake: 'The Gaia developments are hugely exciting'