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Reverence for the Heavens
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
For some, the contemplation of the cosmos is a religious experience. Vatican astronomers say this can lead to profound insights about ourselves and the nature of the universe.

Astrobiology Top 10: Getting WISE About Nemesis
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astrobiology Magazine is highlighting the top 10 astrobiology stories of 2010. At number 9 is a story about how NASA's WISE telescope could settle the argument about whether our Sun has a companion star (nicknamed 'Nemesis.') (Originally published 3/11/2010).

The Final Days of Planet Formation
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
New research reveals that the abundance of elements like gold and platinum found in the mantles of Earth, the Moon and Mars were delivered by massive impactors during the final phase of planet formation over 4.5 billion years ago. The study reveals new information about the formation and evolution of rocky planets.

Discovery Triples Number of Stars in the Universe
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers have discovered that the number of red dwarf stars in the Universe is likely three times greater than previously thought. Because they are relatively small and dim, astronomers hadn't been able to detect them in galaxies other than our own Milky Way and its nearest neighbors.

Survey Says... Earth-Sized Planets Common
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
The most extensive and sensitive planetary census yet performed indicates that one in four Sun-like stars may host planets as small as Earth. The census is of importance to astrobiologists who are trying to determine where to search for habitable, Earth-like worlds.

This Planet's Hottest Spot is away from the Sun
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers have observed a distant planet with a warm spot in the wrong place. The study brings to question current theories about the behavior of extrasolar gas giants and can help astrobiologists understand how distant solar systems form and evolve.

Alien View of Our Solar System
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
New simulations are providing scientists with a glimpse of what our solar system may look like to alien astronomers. The study could helps astronomers in the search for habitable planetary systems around distant stars.

From Cannibalism to Conception
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
An astronomer may have caught a star cannibalizing its companion. The event could allow a second generation of exoplanets to develop out of the resulting disk of dust and debris. The finding provides a unique view into the processes behind planetary formation.

Deadly Tides Mean Early Exit for Hot Jupiters
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
New research indicates that most of the 'hot Jupiter' planets that have been discovered beyond our solar system were likely destroyed by their stars long ago. The study provides new insight into the formation and evolution of planetary systems and will help astrobiologists determine where to search for habitable, extrasolar worlds.

Recipe for Water: Just Add Starlight
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers have discovered that ultraviolet starlight is the key ingredient for making water in space. Water is essential for life as we know it, and understanding how water came to exist in the Universe could help astrobiologists uncover new clues about the origin of life.

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