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Habitable Binary Star Systems
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Habitable planets hoping to see a double sunset stand the best chance when orbiting twin stars that are close together.

A New Model for Habitable Zones
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Scientists have developed an updated model for determining whether or not extrasolar planets lie within the 'habitable zone' of their host stars.

Nearby Planetary Nursery More Massive Than Previously Thought
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Astronomers have used a new method to determine the mass of the planetary nursery around the nearby star TW Hydrae. The star's disk is much larger than previously believed, and could be forming planets similar to those of our own solar system.

Wide Binary Stars Can Disrupt Planetary Systems
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: A new study suggests that planetary systems with binary stars that are far apart could experience dramatic, disruptive events over time. Researchers used our solar system as a model and added a distant binary companion for the Sun. In over half the simulations, one of the four giant planets was ejected from our system.

Studying Planet-Forming Gas Streams
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: For the first time, astronomers have witnessed a key stage in the birth of giant planets around a young star.

Astrobiology Top 10: CERN Finds the Higgs Boson?
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: As 2012 draws to a close, Astrobiology Magazine highlights the year's top stories. At number 7, preliminary results in the search for the Higgs boson were announced. The sub-atmoic particle could be key to understanding how the Universe began and explaining the existence of life. (Originally published on 07/06/12)

Supernova Did Not Birth Our Solar System
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: A new study challenges the idea that a nearby supernova forced the formation of our solar system.

Searching Distant Stars for Complex Molecules
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: On a series of nighttime flights, astrobiologists will soon use an airborne observatory to search newly born stars for molecules essential to the origins of life.

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Astronomers have found that the outer region of a dusty disc encircling a brown dwarf star contains millimeter-sized solid grains. The grains resemble those found in denser discs around newborn stars. The findings could challenge current theories of how rocky planets form.

Do Missing Jupiters Mean Massive Comet Belts?
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems. Both systems also host Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds.

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