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IBEX Maps Our Place in the Galaxy
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
10/25/09
NASA's IBEX spacecraft has made it possible for scientists to construct the first comprehensive sky map of our solar system and its location in the Milky Way. The new view will help researchers study the interaction between our galaxy and sun, and the conditions that allow for habitability in our solar system.

Building Planet Earth
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
10/22/09
A new study shows how rocky planets are formed from the manic swirl of gas and dust that surround a young star, and determines what chemical building blocks are used to construct the planets. Understanding the dynamics and chemistry that create planetary systems can help astronomers in their search for Earth-like planets in the galaxy.

Dirty Stars are Popular Hosts
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
10/07/09
New research indicates that the composition of a star may indicate whether or not the star supports orbiting planets. 'Dirty' stars form from clouds of dust and gas that contain lots of heavy elements... and scientists believe these stars are good candidates for hosting solar systems.

Islands of Life Across Space and Time
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
10/06/09
Scientists have provided the first quantitative evaluation of planetary habitability. The study shows how the habitability of Earth has changed in the past, and will aid astrobiologists in evaluating the habitability of other planets in our solar system and beyond.

Double Dust Disks
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/30/09
Astronomers have explored one of the most compact dust disks ever resolved around another star, where an inner disk is accompanied by an outer disk. The finding may be an example of a young planetary system just entering the last phase of planet formation and could teach us about the evolution and formation of habitable planets.

Planetary Petri Dish
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/29/09
Astronomers have discovered a clump of planet-forming material around a distant star that looks as if it is being pushed around by another star or planet. The observation is unlike anything seen before and offers a rare look into the early stages of planet formation.

Mothballs in Space
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/06/09
Astronomers have discovered gaseous napthalene drifting along through space in interstellar clouds. Studying the composition of interstellar clouds will help scientists understand chemical processes in space that formed many of the molecules present on Earth - including those necessary for the origin of life.

The Fate of the Milky Way
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/02/09
New simulations show that a collision between small, satellite galaxies and our own Milky Way will not tear apart the disk of our home galaxy. Our largest satellite galaxies are the Large and Small Megellanic Clouds, and astronomers once thought a collision with them would lead to disaster. But for now, it looks as though our future in the Milky Way is safe.

Dusty Disks Are Blowing in the Wind
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
08/30/09
Astrobiologists have long studied dusty disks around stars in order to better understand how planets form and evolve. One longstanding mystery is why these disks can have such a wide variety of unique and complicated shapes. Now, a new NASA study may have some answers.

The Origin of Solar Systems
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
08/20/09
A cosmic cloud that is crowded with budding stars and planetary systems is teaching scientists about the environment that our own solar system may have emerged from.

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