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.


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.


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.

Shedded disk of comets

Dead Stars: Good Exoplanet Targets?

White dwarfs can have stable habitable zones for a few billion years, and planets with Earth-like atmospheres might be much easier to detect around these stellar remnants than normal, hydrogen-fusing stars.

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.