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. image of a supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia

    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.

  2. illustration of debris from a destroyed rocky planet circling a white dwarf star

    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.

  3. white dwarf star illustration

    A Jupiter-like planet orbiting a white dwarf hints at our solar system’s future

    A new planet is the first ever discovered that is orbiting a white dwarf and resembles Jupiter in both its mass and its distance from its star.

  4. illustration of a white dwarf star and a red dwarf star in the binary star system AE Aquarii

    The fastest-spinning white dwarf ever seen rotates once every 25 seconds

    A white dwarf star that spins every 25 seconds owes its record-breaking rotation rate to a companion star dumping gas onto it.

  5. a black background highlights several galaxies, with a half-circle orange arc

    A supernova’s delayed reappearance could pin down how fast the universe expands

    “SN Requiem” should reappear in the 2030s and help determine the universe’s expansion rate.

  6. illustration of a brown dwarf

    Here’s how cool a star can be and still achieve lasting success

    The dividing line between successful stars and failed ones is a surface temperature of about 1,200° to 1,400° Celsius, a new study reports.

  7. the planet Jupiter

    A shadowy birthplace may explain Jupiter’s strange chemistry

    Dust that blocked sunlight caused the giant planet to form in a deep freeze, a new study suggests.

  8. planet orbiting star WASP-79

    Most planets on tilted orbits pass over the poles of their suns

    Nearly all of the worlds on misaligned trajectories in other solar systems orbit at nearly 90 degrees to their stars’ equators.

  9. planet Saturn

    Saturn has a fuzzy core, spread over more than half the planet’s diameter

    Analysis of a wave in one of Saturn’s rings has revealed that the planet’s core is diffuse and bloated with lots of hydrogen and helium.

  10. dwarf galaxy HSC J1631+4426

    A record-breaking, oxygen-starved galaxy may be full of gigantic stars’ shrapnel

    The newly discovered galaxy may have once been home to stars more than 300 times as massive as the sun — a peek at conditions in the early universe.

  11. Diagram of low-frequency radio waves in galaxy cluster Abell 2877

    The ‘USS Jellyfish’ emits strange radio waves from a distant galaxy cluster

    The unusual pattern of radio waves dubbed the USS Jellyfish tells a story of intergalactic gas meeting black hole by-products.

  12. pink streaks from the Antlia supernova remnant with galaxies in the background

    A gargantuan supernova remnant looks 40 times as big as the full moon

    New observations confirm that a cloud in the constellation Antlia really is a supernova remnant and the largest ever seen from Earth.