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Aging star blows off smoky bubble

A strikingly beautiful view of a delicate bubble of expelled material around the exotic red star U Antliae helps astronomers understand how stars evolve during the later stages of their life-cycles.

Astronomers find a pitch-black planet

Exoplanet WASP-12b has the unique capability to trap 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The result is a world as black as fresh asphalt.

Venus’ mysterious night side revealed

Researchers using Venus Express spacecraft data report “stationary waves” and slowly moving features in the planet’s upper clouds, during Venus’ long and mysterious night.

Goodbye, Cassini!

The Cassini spacecraft has become part of Saturn, the planet it studied so spectacularly and so long. Cassini’s last images and final moments, here.

More Cassini legacy: Titan’s bonkers atmosphere

Cassini’s legacy will endure. Click for a video about the atmosphere of Saturn’s large moon Titan, which might resemble that of an early Earth.

Juno sees Jupiter up-close and personal

A series of images from the Juno spacecraft’s 8th close flyby of the gas giant planet

Does organic material in comets predate our solar system?

“If cometary organic molecules were indeed produced in interstellar space—and if they played a role in the emergence of life on our planet—might they not also have seeded life on many other planets of our galaxy?”

Cassini makes ‘goodbye kiss’ flyby of Titan

NASA said Cassini’s final flyby of Titan – Saturn’s large moon – went as planned. The spacecraft is now on a course that’ll take it inside Saturn’s atmosphere, for a fiery end to its mission, on September 15.

Pluto craft wakes from hibernation

And last week mission scientists filed a flight plan for New Horizons’ next flyby – of the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 – in early 2019. It’ll be farthest encounter yet between an earthly spacecraft and distant solar system body.

NASA ponders Saturn mission legacy

A statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Cassini mission success at Saturn, and on where solar system exploration will go from here.