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  1. The Radcliffe wave is a ∼3 kpc long coherent gas structure containing most of the star-forming complexes near the Sun. In this Letter we aim to find a Galactic context for the Radcliffe wave by looking into a possible relationship between the gas structure and the Orion (local) arm. We use catalogs of massive stars and young open clusters based on Gaia Early Data Release 3 (EDR3) astrometry, in conjunction with kiloparsec-scale 3D dust maps, to investigate the Galactic XY spatial distributions of gas and young stars. We find a quasi-parallel offset between the luminous blue stars and the Radcliffe wave, in that massive stars and clusters are found essentially inside and downstream from the Radcliffe wave. We examine this offset in the context of color gradients observed in the spiral arms of external galaxies, where the interplay between density wave theory, spiral shocks, and triggered star formation has been used to interpret this particular arrangement of gas and dust as well as OB stars, and outline other potential explanations as well. We hypothesize that the Radcliffe wave constitutes the gas reservoir of the Orion (local) arm, and that it presents itself as a prime laboratory to study the interface between Galactic structure, the formation of molecular clouds in the Milky Way, and star formation. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Luminous hot stars ( M K s  ≲ 0 mag and T eff  ≳ 8000 K) dominate the stellar energy input to the interstellar medium throughout cosmological time, are used as laboratories to test theories of stellar evolution and multiplicity, and serve as luminous tracers of star formation in the Milky Way and other galaxies. Massive stars occupy well-defined loci in colour–colour and colour–magnitude spaces, enabling selection based on the combination of Gaia EDR3 astrometry and photometry and 2MASS photometry, even in the presence of substantive dust extinction. In this paper we devise an all-sky sample of such luminous OBA-type stars, which was designed to be complete rather than very pure, providing targets for spectroscopic follow-up with the SDSS-V survey. To estimate the purity and completeness of our catalogue, we derive stellar parameters for the stars in common with LAMOST DR6 and we compare the sample to other O and B-type star catalogues. We estimate ‘astro-kinematic’ distances by combining parallaxes and proper motions with a model for the expected velocity and density distribution of young stars; we show that this adds useful constraints on the distances and therefore luminosities of the stars. With these distances we map the spatial distribution of a more stringently selected subsample across the Galactic disc, and find it to be highly structured, with distinct over- and under-densities. The most evident over-densities can be associated with the presumed spiral arms of the Milky Way, in particular the Sagittarius-Carina and Scutum-Centaurus arms. Yet, the spatial picture of the Milky Way’s young disc structure emerging in this study is complex, and suggests that most young stars in our Galaxy ( t age  <  t dyn ) are not neatly organised into distinct spiral arms. The combination of the comprehensive spectroscopy to come from SDSS-V (yielding velocities, ages, etc.) with future Gaia data releases will be crucial in order to reveal the dynamical nature of the spiral arms themselves. 
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  3. Context. The ESA Gaia mission provides a unique time-domain survey for more than 1.6 billion sources with G ≲ 21 mag. Aims. We showcase stellar variability in the Galactic colour-absolute magnitude diagram (CaMD). We focus on pulsating, eruptive, and cataclysmic variables, as well as on stars that exhibit variability that is due to rotation and eclipses. Methods. We describe the locations of variable star classes, variable object fractions, and typical variability amplitudes throughout the CaMD and show how variability-related changes in colour and brightness induce “motions”. To do this, we use 22 months of calibrated photometric, spectro-photometric, and astrometric Gaia data of stars with a significant parallax. To ensure that a large variety of variable star classes populate the CaMD, we crossmatched Gaia sources with known variable stars. We also used the statistics and variability detection modules of the Gaia variability pipeline. Corrections for interstellar extinction are not implemented in this article. Results. Gaia enables the first investigation of Galactic variable star populations in the CaMD on a similar, if not larger, scale as was previously done in the Magellanic Clouds. Although the observed colours are not corrected for reddening, distinct regions are visible in which variable stars occur. We determine variable star fractions to within the current detection thresholds of Gaia . Finally, we report the most complete description of variability-induced motion within the CaMD to date. Conclusions. Gaia enables novel insights into variability phenomena for an unprecedented number of stars, which will benefit the understanding of stellar astrophysics. The CaMD of Galactic variable stars provides crucial information on physical origins of variability in a way that has previously only been accessible for Galactic star clusters or external galaxies. Future Gaia data releases will enable significant improvements over this preview by providing longer time series, more accurate astrometry, and additional data types (time series BP and RP spectra, RVS spectra, and radial velocities), all for much larger samples of stars. 
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