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Chang'e 5 launch

Spacecraft and Space Missions

China Launches Ambitious Sample-Return Mission to the Moon

The aim of China's Chang'e 5 mission is to return samples of lunar soil to Earth by the end of 2020.

Capella and the Kids

Learning About the Sky

Meet Capella, the Goat Star

Capella is the sixth-brightest star in the sky — and it's more than one star! The main two stars in the system are near-twins, bright yellow giants.

Surveyor 2

Celestial News & Events

Earth's New "Minimoon" May be a 1960s-Era Rocket Booster

An object set to pass near Earth next month may in fact be a relic of the early Space Age.

Birth of a Magnetar

Stellar Science

Gamma-ray Flash Heralds Birth of a Magnetar

What happens when two neutron stars don't add up to a black hole?

Arecibo dish damage

Professional Telescopes

Iconic Arecibo Telescope Damaged, To Be Dismantled

The iconic Arecibo telescope, damaged by two cable failures within three months, is beyond repair.

Blue Ring Nebula

Stellar Science

The Case of the Blue Ring Nebula

After 16 years, astronomers have figured out the origin of a strange ring of ultraviolet light, and shed light on a common — but rarely observed — event.

Astrobiology

Is the Phosphine Biosignature on Venus a Calibration Error?

The already tentative detection of phosphine is under heavy scrutiny from the scientific community. A problem with the ALMA data hasn't helped.

2001 Leonid storm

Celestial News & Events

Leonid Meteor Shower to the Rescue

Modest but reliable, the annual Leonid meteor shower returns this week. Take an hour or two to relax and enjoy the show.

Crew One

Spacecraft and Space Missions

SpaceX Launches Four Astronauts to the International Space Station

A crew of four is headed to the International Space Station, on Crew Dragon’s first operational launch, Crew One.

Like moths in the lamplight

Galaxies

Stellar Fossils Reveal the "Kraken" in the Milky Way's Past

Astronomers have reconstructed the Milky Way's merger history, finding that our galaxy has absorbed five large satellite galaxies in the last 12 billion years.

Mars Ascent Vehicle concept

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mars Sample Return Program Forges Ahead

It's full steam ahead for the joint NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return, a complex plan to collect bits of Mars and — for the first time — send them to Earth.

Brown dwarf aurorae

Exoplanets

Radio Transmission from a Brown Dwarf

The radio discovery of a brown dwarf holds promise for future exoplanet detections.

Arecibo

Professional Telescopes

Another Cable Snaps at the Arecibo Observatory

Engineers are looking at stabilizing the dish, as the Arecibo Observatory has suffered a second cable failure.

Dark skies

Save Dark Skies

Under One Sky — Help Address Light Pollution

Do you care about protecting the night sky? Join the International Dark Sky Association’s virtual conference this weekend.

big black hole merger

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Big Black Holes Dominate New Gravitational-Wave Catalog

Gravitational-wave scientists have unveiled their latest catalog of events, revealing a surprising number of massive black holes.

Misshapen monster

Stellar Science

How Big Is Betelgeuse Really?

Knowing Betelgeuse’s size is crucial to understanding its recent bizarre behavior — and predicting when it will go supernova. But it’s harder to figure out than you might think.

Kepler concept

Exoplanets

Earth-size Planets Are Common, Kepler Retrospective Finds

A new, full analysis of Kepler data finds at least 300 million Earth-size planets in the habitable zone around Sun-like stars in our galaxy.

Magnetar

Stellar Science

Magnetars Make Some — Maybe All — Mysterious Radio Flashes

In-depth analysis of a flash of radio waves coming from a Milky Way magnetar have convinced astronomers: Magnetars produce at least some fast radio bursts.

Cool blue world

Asteroids

Tiny Asteroid Flora and Mighty Uranus Team Up

Both Uranus and the asteroid 8 Flora came to opposition on Halloween. Catch them both in the same corner of the sky the next clear night.

Astronomy and Society

Astronomers Dim Street Lights to Home in on Light Pollution

Street lights contribute to light pollution, but they are far from the only culprits — and fixing street lights is far from the only solution.

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