Shannon Hall

About Shannon Hall

Shannon Hall is a freelance science journalist. She holds two B.A.'s from Whitman College in physics-astronomy and philosophy, and an M.S. in astronomy from the University of Wyoming. Currently, she is working toward a second M.S. from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program.

Here are my most recent posts

Calling All Volunteers to Help Digitize Astronomical History

by Shannon Hall September 12, 2014

An old brick building on Harvard’s Observatory Hill is overflowing with rows of dark green cabinets — each one filled to the brim with hundreds of astronomical glass plates in paper sleeves: old-fashioned photographic negatives of the night sky. All in all there are more than 500,000 plates preserving roughly a century of information about […]

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A Lurking Companion Star Explains Enigmatic Supernova

by Shannon Hall September 11, 2014

Massive stars end their lives dramatically. Once the nuclear fuel deep within their cores is spent, there’s no longer any outward pressure to push against gravity, and the star collapses. But while the inner layers fall in to form a black hole or a neutron star, the outer layers fall faster, hitting the inner layers, […]

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Gliese 15Ab: The Closest Known Super-Earth?

by Shannon Hall September 9, 2014

Our solar neighborhood is rich with planetary systems. Within 20 light-years we’ve detected sizzling gas giants and rocky planets orbiting closer to their host star than Mercury orbits the Sun. Astronomers have now added one more to the list, and this one — a super-Earth dubbed Gliese 15Ab — ranks as one of the closest […]

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A New Marker Might Better Track the Solar Cycle

by Shannon Hall September 5, 2014

Approximately every 11 years the Sun becomes violently active, putting on a show of magnetic activity for aurora watchers and sungazers alike. But the timing of the solar cycle is far from precise, making it hard to determine the exact underlying physics. Typically astronomers use sunspots to map the course of the solar cycle, but […]

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One Planet, Two Stars: A System More Common Than Previously Thought

by Shannon Hall September 4, 2014

There are few environments more hostile than a planet circling two stars. Powerful tidal forces from the stars can easily destroy the rocky building blocks of planets or grind a newly formed planet to dust. But astronomers have spotted a handful of these hostile worlds. A new study is even suggesting that these extreme systems […]

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