An artist's conception of a face-on spiral galaxy with a central bar.

Gaia starts mapping our Milky Way’s bar

“We knew the Milky Way had a bar, like other barred spiral galaxies. But we only had indirect indications from the motions of stars and gas. This is the first time we see the galactic bar in 3D space, based on geometric measurements of stellar distances.”

Are moons forming around this distant gas giant planet?

After many years of searching, astronomers have finally found what appears to be a circumplanetary disk – that is, a disk of gas and dust – surrounding a young exoplanet. Evidence suggests that moons may be forming there.

2 astronauts in spacesuits holding a US flag on the moon.

Planting a flag on the moon

With virtually no atmosphere on the moon – and, therefore, no wind – flags that fly freely on Earth would hang like limp cloth in the lunar environment. So Apollo 11 engineers had to rethink flagpole design entirely.

Video: Moon hoax not

Don’t believe the moon landings were real? Go ahead. Watch this.

5 moon-landing innovations that changed life on Earth

The technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the moon.

Plumes of water vapor on Enceladus.

Enceladus’ ocean right age to support life

The subsurface ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus seems possibly habitable in many ways. Now a new study has determined it’s the right age to support life, too.

Join space scientists marking Apollo anniversary

Join online as leading space scientists discuss the legacy of Apollo 11 during the mission’s 50th anniversary this week.

The eclipse that marked the start of the Iroquois Confederacy

The total solar eclipse of August 22, 1142, may have coincided with the birth of the Iroquois Confederacy, oldest democracy in North America and possibly on Earth.

Gray spacecraft over barren orange hills and plain with a yellow sky.

Dragonfly aims for Saturn’s moon Titan

Scheduled for launch in 2026, the Dragonfly mission will look for clues to the origins of life, and possibly even evidence of life itself, on Saturn’s alien yet remarkably Earth-like moon Titan.

Pluto in natural color.

Today in 2015: New Horizons at Pluto

The small, fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft is likely to be the only Pluto mission in the lifetimes of many of us. It changed forever the way we on Earth perceive this outermost world and its moons.

Close-up on Pluto's path in front of the constellation Sagittarius.

We go between the sun and Pluto on July 14

This is Pluto’s opposition, marking the middle of the best time of year to see it. Telescope users spot it by locating its star field and watching nightly for the object that moves. Details and photos here.

Astronomers spot asteroid with shortest year known

The newly-discovered rocky body – dubbed 2019 LF6 – orbits the sun roughly every 151 days.

Wash of colors from tan to purple to green.

Dust storms swirl at Mars’ north pole

Over the last month, ESA’s Mars Express has been watching dust storms brew at the planet’s north pole and disperse toward the equator.

Small p[lanets orbiting a star.

Is the Random Transiter weirder than Tabby’s Star?

Move over, Tabby’s Star. The Random Transiter may now be the weirdest star in the galaxy. Kepler data revealed 28 transits in front of this star in 87 days. What caused them? Multiple planets? A disintegrating planet? Alien megastructures?

Simulated pinwheel galaxy image, from the side, divided by color, green on left, red on right.

Success with a new theory of gravity

Supercomputer simulations of galaxies show that Einstein’s general theory of relativity might not be the only way to explain how gravity works or how galaxies form. The new Chameleon Theory is a possible alternative.

A shimmery yellow circle on a black background.

Will planetary low tide force regular sunspot sync-ups?

No, it’s not pseudoscience. Does a regular alignment of planets make a strong-enough tug to regulate the sun’s 11- and 22-year cycles? Read more in this story via Eos – a source for news and perspectives about Earth and space science – from the American Geophysical Union.

Today in 2003: Opportunity blasts off to Mars

NASA’s Opportunity rover spent some 15 years exploring Mars. It surpassed all expectations for its endurance and longevity, to become one of the most successful planetary missions. Then it went silent.

Do organic crystals create ‘bathtub rings’ around Titan’s lakes and seas?

Scientists have been trying to figure what creates the so-called “bathtub rings” around lakes and seas on Saturn’s large moon Titan. Now they may have an answer: unusual organic crystals not found on Earth.

Uranus’ rings surprisingly bright in ‘heat’ images

The rings of the 7th planet, Uranus, are thin and dark. But new thermal images from the ALMA and VLT telescopes show them glowing brightly.

Halo around galaxy.

Astronomers ponder halos around galaxies

Galaxies are massive and beautiful islands of stars. But did you know that most galaxies are surrounded by halos? A complex instrument on the Very Large Telescope is giving astronomers new views of these galactic rings of light.