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A Million Stars in a Snapshot
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
04/18/09
Summary: NASA's Kepler spacecraft has captured its first images of the star-rich patch of sky where it will soon begin searching for Earth-like planets. One image from Kepler's entire field of view is estimated to contain 14 million stars, more than 100,000 of which are considered excellent candidates for planet hunting.

Generating Giant Galaxies
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
04/14/09
Summary: A new finding indicates that not all massive, luminous galaxies formed shortly after the Big Bang. The study could yield new information about the origin and evolution of galaxies.

Cool Star Chemicals
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
04/11/09
Summary: Life is thought to have arisen from a hot soup of chemical ingredients. Could such a life-giving broth exist on planets around distant stars as well? A new study using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope indicates that a different mixture of life-forming chemicals may exist on planets that orbit stars cooler than our sun.

Living with a Red Dwarf
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
04/09/09
Summary: Not astrobiologists' first choice, red dwarf stars have now gained acceptance as potential hosts for habitable planets. They may not be great to live by in the first couple billion years, but they eventually settle down into relatively pleasant stars.

Galactic Dust Bunnies Contain Stuff of Life
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
03/14/09
Summary: Astronomers have found evidence that carbon-rich stars may form at the center of the Milky Way. The research is helping astrobiologists understand how elements necessary for life are formed and distributed through the Universe.

The Case of the Missing Asteroids
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
03/01/09
Summary: Scientists have determined that the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter should contain more asteroids that we actually observe today. The missing asteroids may be evidence of an event that occurred as the giant planets migrated to their present positions.

Rocking the Cosmic Cradle
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
02/15/09
Summary: New research tools are yielding information about the formation of planets and the production of complex molecules in interstellar space. The data will not only help astronomers understand how distant solar systems form, but also whether or not these systems contain important chemical precursors for life.

Double Star Disks
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
01/20/09
Summary: A new study suggests that planets may easily form around binary star systems. The finding is helping astronomers narrow down the best locations in the Universe to search for extrasolar planets.

Dead Stars Tell of Planet Birth
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
01/06/09
Summary: Astronomers are now studying the evolution of planets by studying dead stars. These stars are littered with the remnants of asteroids – providing information about the building materials of planets.

Planets Form in the Eye of a Storm
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
12/16/08
Summary: New research shows that turbulence in protoplanetary disks plays a key role in the birth of planet. The finding may alter theories on how planets form from dust and debris around distant stars.

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