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Gaia’s 2nd data release: 1.7 billion stars!

Why did ESA’s director of science say Gaia’s observations are “redefining the foundations” of astronomy? Also, links to virtual reality resources made possible by Gaia, available for you to explore.

Watch thousands of asteroids orbiting our sun

Both NASA and ESA space missions have just released new videos plotting the orbits of tens of thousands of asteroids (and comets) orbiting our sun.

1st deep-space CubeSats ready for launch to Mars

Riding along with the Mars InSight mission, the 2 briefcase-sized CubeSats are designed to demonstrate nearly real-time communications between worlds.

How TESS will hunt for alien worlds

Launched last week, TESS will scan 200,000 close and bright stars, seeking new planets and possibly livable worlds. Here’s a roundtable discussion with 2 scientists on the TESS mission.

Our home world from afar

Celebrate Earth Day with these 10 images of Earth from space.

New study suggests violent origin for Mars’ moons

It was thought Mars’ 2 small moons – Phobos and Deimos – might be captured asteroids. But new work suggests a violent birth for the moons during a colossal impact.

TESS planet hunter on its way

“It’s the beginning of a new era of exoplanet research.”

What is an exoplanet?

Humans have been speculating about their existence for thousands of years, but ours is the 1st generation to know, with certainty, that exoplanets are really out there.

See it! Moon sweeps past Venus

Wonderful photos from the EarthSky community of the moon’s sweep this week past the brightest planet, Venus.

Green moon on April 20, 2018? Nah

For weeks, people have searched for this post more than any other at EarthSky. No, there won’t be a green moon on April 20, 2018. It’s a joke, y’all, with its roots (ahem) in cannabis culture. :-)

The search for the sun’s lost siblings

Our sun’s sibling stars could be scattered across the sky. Astronomers are sifting through newly released data in the GALAH Survey – a galactic archaeology survey – hoping to find them.

Scientists seeking continuous gravitational waves

Scientists 1st observed gravitational waves from merging black holes. Now they’re targeting a different gravitational wave signal: a long continuous waveform from a rapidly spinning neutron star.

Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

2018 GE3 swept by at half the moon’s distance Sunday, just hours after being detected. Its size is 3 to 6 times that of the space rock that penetrated the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.

Theorists describe black hole megamergers

“Binary black holes are basically like giant targets hanging out in a globular star cluster, and as you throw other black holes or stars at them, they undergo these crazy chaotic encounters.”

Watch launch of TESS planet-hunting mission April 16

TESS will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Lift-off is planned for no earlier than 6:32 p.m. EDT (10:32 p.m. UTC).

Flyover of Jupiter’s north pole in infrared

See what scientists saw this week at a meeting in Vienna. It’s a 3-D fly-around of Jupiter’s north pole, showing its central cyclone and the 8 smaller cyclones encircling it.

In infrared, Io appears alive with volcanos

The Juno spacecraft, now orbiting Jupiter, acquired this infrared image of the giant planet’s moon Io. Each fiery dot is an active volcano.

Tour the moon in 4K

Take a virtual tour of the moon in all-new 4K resolution – Ultra High Def – created from data provided by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

IAU approves names for Pluto’s moon Charon

NASA held a public naming contest in 2015, just before New Horizons’ sweep past Pluto and Charon. The spacecraft mission team has used many of the Charon feature names since. Now the IAU gives the names the nod.

Cosmic gorilla effect could blind detection of aliens

Could it be that the more rational and methodical searches for extraterrestrial intelligence are overlooking “the gorilla in the room?” A new study suggests it’s possible.