Author Archives: John Bochanski

John Bochanski

About John Bochanski

John Bochanski is a physics professor at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. John uses large surveys of the sky to study its coolest members, from nearby low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, to some of the most distant red giant stars ever discovered.

Star before and after adaptive optics

Next-Gen Adaptive Optics

The Subaru Telescope has donned a new pair of glasses called Raven, a multi-object adaptive optics system that enables astronomers to correct for atmospheric turbulence over an unprecedented field of view.

view of Milky Way from ULAS J0744+25

The Most Distant Milky Way Stars

Astronomers have discovered two stars that lie more than 700,000 light-years from Earth, making them the most distant stellar members of our galaxy ever detected. Blogger John Bochanski tells the story of how his team found these faraway stars.

browndwarf_341

New Cutoff for Star Sizes

Astronomers have found a size gap between stars that fuse hydrogen in their cores and so-called failed stars, which never muster the ability to sustain fusion. This boundary could help observers precisely identify the smallest stellar citizens.

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Sneaky Star Dating

How old are the Sun's stellar neighbors? An inventive approach suggests that the birth rate for the nearest stars has had two peaks instead of one — meaning two distinct generations are mixing in the neighborhood.

dust trap in Ophiucus

Trapping Alien Dust

New observations with the powerful ALMA observatory reveal a huge pile-up of dust around a young star. The result could help astronomers solve a long-standing mystery in planet formation.

planet-forming disk?

One Gap, No Planets

There's a big gap in the dusty disk around the young star V1247 Orionis. Such a gap should be carved out by one or more planets, but astronomers can't find any.

Brown dwarf disk

Making Planets Around Brown Dwarfs

Astronomers searching for forming planets have a new place to look. Even the thin disks around brown dwarfs are capable of forming grains large enough that, one day, they could potentially coalesce into a rocky planet.

Oort Cloud

Making Mini-Oort Clouds

A new set of simulations shows that systems with so-called "hot Jupiters" might also have mini-Oort clouds detectable by today's space telescopes, giving astronomers a new potential tool for finding exotic extrasolar systems.

HD 40307g

A New Goldilocks Planet

Astronomers have found a system of six super-Earths, one of which is at the "Goldilocks" distance for sustaining liquid water. The Sun-like host of the system lies only 40 light-years away.