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Planet or Star?
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have photographed one of the smallest objects ever seen around a normal star beyond our Sun. Weighing in at 12 times the mass of Jupiter, the object is small enough to be a planet. The conundrum is that it s also large enough to be a brown dwarf, a failed star.

Life Cycles of Star Dust
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is helping astronomers understand how dust is recycled in galaxies. The tiny particles -- flecks of minerals, ices and carbon-rich molecules -- are everywhere in the universe, and are important for making stars, planets and even people.

Solar System Cities
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered nearly 2,300 planet-forming disks in the Orion cloud complex, a collection of turbulent star-forming clouds that includes the well-known Orion nebula.

Which Came First, Star or Planet?
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has for the first time identified the parent star of a distant planet discovered through gravitational microlensing.

Cosmic Chemical Complexity
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
In just two years of work, an international research team has discovered eight new complex, biologically-significant molecules in interstellar space using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia.

Free-floating Twins Test Theories
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
The cast of exoplanets has an extraordinary new member. Using ESO's telescopes, astronomers have discovered an approximately seven- Jupiter-mass companion to an object that is itself only twice as hefty. Both objects have masses similar to those of extra-solar giant planets.

Cosmic Rain
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
For the last 30,000 years, our planet has been hit by a constant rain of cosmic dust particles. Scientists have reached this conclusion after investigating the amount of the helium isotope 3He in cosmic dust particles preserved in an Antarctic ice core.

Planets as Brake Pads
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have found evidence that dusty disks of planet-forming material tug on and slow down the young, whirling stars they surround.

An IOTA of Red
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
By linking a trio of telescopes, astronomers have obtained unprecedented detail of old red giant stars. The stars had an unexplained patchy brightness that could be caused by orbiting planets.

Dust Clues to Planet
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revealed two dust disks circling the nearby star Beta Pictoris. The images confirm a decade of scientific speculation that a warp in the young star's dust disk may actually be a second inclined disk, which is evidence for the possibility of at least one Jupiter-size planet orbiting the star.

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