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Ken Croswell

Ken Croswell has a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University and is the author of eight books, including The Alchemy of the Heavens: Searching for Meaning in the Milky Way and The Lives of Stars.

All Stories by Ken Croswell

  1. Orange planet-building disk of gas and dust in space
    Astronomy

     Most stars may have much more time to form planets than previously thought

    Planet-making disks may survive around most young stars for 5 million to 10 million years — more than double a previous estimate.
  2. photo of the night sky with Milky Way stars visible
    Astronomy

     A protogalaxy in the Milky Way may be our galaxy’s original nucleus

    Millions of ancient stars spanning about 18,000 light-years at the Milky Way’s heart are the kernel around which the galaxy grew, researchers say.
  3. illustration of a neutron star that became a pulsar next to an orbiting star
    Astronomy

     The heaviest neutron star on record is 2.35 times the mass of the sun

    The measurement helps refine the dividing line between neutron stars and black holes.
  4. photo of the sun
    Astronomy

     Neutrinos hint the sun has more carbon and nitrogen than previously thought

    Scientists still don’t know the sun’s exact chemical composition, which is crucial for understanding the entire universe. Neutrinos will help.
  5. illustration of the 70 Ophiuchi double-star system
    Astronomy

     ‘Goldilocks’ stars may pose challenges for any nearby habitable planets

    Orange dwarfs emit far-ultraviolet light long after birth, stressing the atmospheres of potentially life-bearing worlds.
  6. two Magellanic clouds in the night sky over Mayasia
    Astronomy

     When the Magellanic Clouds cozy up to each other, stars are born

    The Magellanic Clouds, the two closest star-making galaxies to the Milky Way, owe much of their stellar creativity to each other.
  7. photo of the Milky Way with purple hues in the sky above the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope in China
    Astronomy

     Here’s the best timeline yet for the Milky Way’s big events

    A new study puts more precise dates on when the Milky Way formed its thick disk and collided with a neighboring galaxy.
  8. radio image of three rings of gas around the star called V Hydrae
    Astronomy

     A new image captures enormous gas rings encircling an aging red star

    The rings, seen for the first time, provide insight into how giant stars lose mass and seed the cosmos with elements.
  9. illustration of a hot Jupiter orbiting a star
    Astronomy

     How ‘hot Jupiters’ may get their weirdly tight orbits

    Gravitational kicks from other planets and stars can send giant worlds into orbits that bring them close to their suns.
  10. image of a FU Orionus
    Astronomy

     Two stars’ close encounter may explain a cosmic flare that has barely faded

    A brilliant outburst of light that has lasted nearly a century arose when two young stars skirted past each other, simulations suggest.
  11. image of a supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia
    Astronomy

     How massive stars in binary systems turn into carbon factories

    A massive star with an orbiting partner star ejects on average twice as much carbon, an element crucial for life, into space compared with a solo star.
  12. illustration of debris from a destroyed rocky planet circling a white dwarf star
    Astronomy

     Distant rocky planets may have exotic chemical makeups that don’t resemble Earth’s

    Elements sprinkled on white dwarf stars suggest that the mantles of faraway rocky worlds differ greatly from their counterparts in our solar system.