Christopher Crockett

Interim Astronomy Writer

Christopher Crockett is the interim astronomy writer. A freelance science writer and editor based in Arlington, Va., Crockett was the astronomy writer at Science News from 2014 to 2017. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

All Stories by Christopher Crockett

  1. Mars Maven spacecraft
    Space

    NASA’s MAVEN probe shows how wind circulates in Mars’ upper atmosphere

    By using the MAVEN spacecraft to track winds in the Martian thermosphere, researchers hope to better understand how the atmosphere leaks into space.

  2. Parker Solar Probe illustration
    Space

    NASA’s Parker probe reveals the sun’s rogue plasma waves and magnetic islands

    Scientists have analyzed the Parker probe’s first data, giving a peek at what’s to come as the craft moves closer to the sun over the next few years.

  3. black hole
    Space

    A newfound black hole in the Milky Way is weirdly heavy

    A dark mass about 68 times as massive as the sun is locked in orbit with a star in our galaxy. Theory says that such black holes shouldn’t get so big.

  4. NGC 5477
    Astronomy

    19 more galaxies mysteriously missing dark matter have been found

    The finding reveals a population of dwarf galaxies that defy common wisdom about how these star systems form and evolve.

  5. Space rocks hitting Earth illustration
    Planetary Science

    Ribose, a sugar needed for life, has been detected in meteorites

    Samples of rocks that fell to Earth contain a key molecular ingredient of RNA, part of life’s genetic machinery.

  6. Exploding star illustration
    Space

    How two gamma-ray bursts created record-breaking high-energy photons

    Light packing up to 1 trillion electron volts of energy bolsters a theory for how these cosmic explosions produce such high-energy radiation.

  7. solar spicules
    Space

    Realigning magnetic fields may drive the sun’s spiky plasma tendrils

    Solar spicules emerge near counterpointing magnetic fields, hinting that self-adjusting magnetism creates these filaments, which may heat the corona.

  8. Arrokoth
    Space

    NASA gave Ultima Thule a new official name

    The distant world briefly visited by New Horizons is now called Arrokoth, a Powhatan word that means “sky.”

  9. Sunburst Arc galaxy
    Space

    Light leaking from a distant galaxy hints at a cosmic makeover’s origins

    Ultraviolet light slips through a hole in a distant galaxy’s gas. Older galaxies might have used the trick to ionize most of the universe’s hydrogen.

  10. Voyager 1 and 2
    Space

    Voyager 2 reveals the dynamic, complex nature of the solar system’s edge

    With two spacecraft outside the sun’s magnetic bubble, researchers get a new look at the boundary between the sun and its galactic environment.

  11. Buzz Aldrin on the moon
    Planetary Science

    Accolades, skepticism and science marked Science News’ coverage of Apollo

    Science News’ coverage of the Apollo program stayed focused on the science but also framed the moon missions in the broader social and political context of the era.

  12. Saturn hexagons
    Planetary Science

    Saturn has two hexagons, not one, swirling around its north pole

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied a vortex growing high over Saturn’s north pole, whose hexagonal shape mirrors a famous underlying cyclone.