class2008, day three

On the third day of Classification and Discovery, I chaired a session on the time domain; I was blown away by the data from the CoRoT experiment. But I was even more fired up by Anthony Brown's description of the problem of inferring Galactic structure from GAIA data. This problem has so many awesome aspects, including a good argument for generating the data with the model (think Lutz-Kelker problems with parallaxes), to a huge issue with priors (because the mission measures positions and velocities but not accelerations, and accelerations are what the Galaxy produces). I will say more about the latter when I get it sorted out in my head. GAIA really will provide the best inference problem ever encountered in astrophysics.

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