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. An artist's creation shows a red Jupiter-like planet with a red star shining in the distance.

    Jupiter-sized planets are very rare around the least massive stars

    A six-year search of 200 nearby low-mass red dwarf stars found no Jupiter-like planets, boosting the standard theory for how such planets form.

  2. An ultraviolet composite image of Saturn. The planet is seen in shades of blue with a white band towards the center at at the top.
    Planetary Science

    Saturn’s icy rings are probably heating its atmosphere, giving it an ultraviolet glow

    Detecting similar emission from a distant world could help astronomers find other planets that boast bright and beautiful rings.

  3. the Rosette Nebula, shown as a dense cloud of red, yellow, orange and blue, with bright white spots

    The Milky Way may be spawning many more stars than astronomers had thought

    Glowing radioactive debris from massive stars indicates our galaxy mints 10 to 20 new stars a year — double to quadruple the standard number.

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

    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.

  5. photo of the night sky with Milky Way stars visible

    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.

  6. illustration of a neutron star that became a pulsar next to an orbiting star

    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.

  7. photo of the sun

    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.

  8. illustration of the 70 Ophiuchi double-star system

    ‘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.

  9. two Magellanic clouds in the night sky over Mayasia

    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.

  10. photo of the Milky Way with purple hues in the sky above the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope in China

    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.

  11. radio image of three rings of gas around the star called V Hydrae

    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.

  12. illustration of a hot Jupiter orbiting a star

    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.