New Milky Way Visualizations Show the Dance of Millions of Stars in Incredible Detail

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Illustration: ESA/Gaia/DPAC/CU6

It wasn’t all stars for Gaia’s third dataset. The space observatory also mapped the orbit of more than 150,000 asteroids, from the inner parts of the solar system all the way out to the Trojan asteroids that trail behind, and lead in front of, Jupiter. The different types of asteroids are indicated by different colors.

The yellow dot at the center of the illustration is the Sun, while the blue represents the inner part of the solar system, with its rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and Near Earth Asteroids, as well as Mars crossers. The main asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, is represented in green, while Jupiter’s Trojans are red.

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