After two months of approaching the topic and working with the first data release (DR1) of the Gaia satellite, Professor Rene Oudmaijer and myself went to the Gaia DR1 Workshop at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Madrid, that started on 2nd November. It was three days of intense talks and hands on sessions related to how to understand, treat and work with the brand new Gaia data in order to maximize the quality of the research results. The organization was excellent and the workshop resulted very instructive and useful. I learned new techniques and programs for data treatment as well as how to deal with the sophisticated and sometimes tricky Gaia data. It was impressive to see how much work is behind each of the steps of the data reduction and how carefully the ESA has been treating the data making them easily accessible to the community.
The workshop was not the only good thing about going to Madrid. I had the chance to meet my other supervisor, Dr. Deborah Baines, who works at ESAC and see the environment in which I am going to work in the second part of the project. We had the opportunity to do a project meeting and talk about long and close term future work. I really liked the path we traced and I think I am going to enjoy a lot my secondment there.
In summary, it was a very productive stay in Madrid that in my opinion will bring very good outcomes to the project. I am looking forward to the next data release and to future travels, if they all are as positive as this one.