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Asteroid spacecraft to get gravity boost from Earth on Friday

How to participate in a Wave to OSIRIS-REx social media campaign. Plus, how to see the craft in the sky and where to submit your images.

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.

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2017

A whole series of awesome meteor showers is about to start. Click in for information on how to watch the Draconids, Orionids, Taurids, Leonids and Geminids!

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 today

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.

Cassini milestones before the final plunge

Milestones for Cassini’s final week at Saturn. Today’s distant flyby of the large moon Titan will slow down the spacecraft enough so that – on Friday – Cassini will make its final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Most detailed color images of Saturn’s rings, ever

As we prepare to say goodbye to Cassini at Saturn – one of the longest-running and most awesome space missions ever – here’s yet another first, a finely seen section of Saturn’s inner-central B Ring, in natural color.

Ultraviolet light key to life search, too?

Too little UV light, and life might not ever start. Too much, in the form dramatic UV flares from stars, and the atmospheres of orbiting planets might undergo damage.

X-ray astronomy and planet-hosting stars

X-ray astronomers explored how quickly young stars settle down after blasting the space around themselves – including any possible planets – with energetic radiation.

What drives Jupiter’s brightest auroras?

The sun drives Earth’s auroras. But Jupiter’s brightest auroras may be accelerated by processes within the giant planet’s own magnetic field.

Pluto features get names

The 14 geological features are the first to be officially named, following the New Horizons spacecraft’s close flyby of Pluto in July 2015.

Asteroid 3122 Florence: Video and images

This large asteroid swept closest to Earth on September 1. It’s big enough that astronomers are still catching it in small telescopes, as a small, slow-moving “star.”

How many house-sized NEOs?

A new study shows house-sized NEOs – Near-Earth Objects – to be 10 times fewer than studies had indicated. Still, there are some 3.5 million NEOs larger than 10 meters across.

Artificial intelligence probes gravity’s lens

Researchers at SLAC and Stanford have been using brain-mimicking neural networks to analyze the spacetime distortions of gravitational lenses. They say their analysis is 10 million times faster than before.