Author Archives: Shannon Hall

Shannon Hall

About Shannon Hall

Shannon Hall, a freelance science journalist, has two bachelors in physics-astronomy and philosophy and two masters in astronomy and science journalism. Eight years of higher education explains why she's hooked on the smell of freshly ground coffee almost as much as the wonders of the universe.

Mysteriously Bright Supernova Explained

In 2010, a mysteriously bright supernova appeared, later sparking a debate within the astronomy community. But new images of the now-faded supernova reveal an intervening — and until now invisible — cosmic lens, which magnified its light.

Planets’ Wacky Orbits Solved

By combining nearly 1,500 observations with sophisticated computer models, astronomers have shed light on a nearby planetary system, proving that the planets' bizarre orbits will actually remain stable for the next 100 million years.

Watch a Star Evolve in “Real Time”

The odd behavior of a star in the heart of the Stingray Nebula provides tantalizing evidence that we may be seeing, first-hand, its helium-shell flash: an explosive phase of nuclear burning at the end of a star’s life.

Most “Earth-Like” Planet Found Yet

The newly discovered planet, Kepler-186f, is the first Earth-size exoplanet circling in its star’s habitable zone. The media worldwide is gleaming with fantastical headlines, but readers in the know may have an inkling the result is less than it seems.

Supernova Remnant in Technicolor

Take a look at this supernova remnant from radio waves to x-rays to see multiple features of its bubble-like expanding shock wave. Supernovae — the dramatic explosions of massive stars ending their lives — can outshine their host galaxies for weeks, allowing them to be seen across millions of light-years of empty space. On a…

A New Galactic Yardstick

Astronomers have developed a new method to measure distances to bright but faraway galaxies, a tool which will help better constrain the expansion rate of the universe.

Planets Form With Magnetic Storms

Astronomers might have solved an outstanding mystery of why forming planetary systems emit more infrared light than expected. The key lies with gas and dust suspended in giant magnetic loops.

A Chaotic Planet-Forming Disk

A new map of Beta Pictoris reveals an asymmetric clump of carbon monoxide likely produced in cometary collisions. It provides a rare glimpse at the chaotic birth of a planetary system.

A Meteorite Lights up the Lunar Night

Astronomers have witnessed the largest lunar impact to date. With an impact energy equivalent to 15 tons of TNT — approximately 3 times as great as the previous record-holder — the flash was visible even to the naked-eye.

The Purest Star Tells an Ancient Tale

Astronomers have discovered the purest star to date. Composed almost exclusively of hydrogen and helium — with 15 million times less iron than our Sun — it illuminates what happened among the first supernovae in the early universe.