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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Nova Persei 1901

    The number of Milky Way nova explosions per year has been pinned down

    Knowing how frequently these stellar eruptions occur will help determine their contribution to the galaxy’s chemical makeup.

  11. Milky Way galactic center

    The Milky Way’s central black hole may have turned nearby red giant stars blue

    A powerful blast from the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s center may explain the lack of large, red stars there.

  12. Geminid meteor shower

    December’s stunning Geminid meteor shower is born from a humble asteroid

    Most meteor showers arise from comets, but the robust Geminid shower comes from an asteroid, Phaethon, which scientists are still trying to figure out.