A constant theme of the past summers in Heidelberg has been our unreadiness for the Gaia data releases. The first release is this September 14, so it really is now down to the wire. Hans-Walter Rix led a very interactive Milky Way Group Meeting today on the subject, where we first (with the help of Coryn Bailer-Jones MPIA) outlined the contents of the first data release, and then brain-stormed projects. Here (below) is the board after the first part. My view is that there are a lot of papers that could be published in the first week after the release, and good papers, too! But it is important to understand up-front what the restricted data release can and cannot do.
In the afternoon, I had a long conversation with Jeroen Bouwman (MPIA) and Juergen Schreiber (MPIA) about spectroscopy of exoplanet transits with infrared spectrographs. There are many systematic effects, some deterministically related to spacecraft state and pointing, some more stochastic, and the idea is to model them as accurately as possible. I suggested an approach very similar to Dun Wang's CPM, in which we model data pixel values at one wavelength using pixels at other wavelengths. We came up with first steps to try.