Astronomers are all atwitter #Betelgeuse #astronomy #sciku #poetry #poem

artist's rendering of star BetelgueseBetelgeuse grows dim
Is the supernova blast
On its way to Earth?

by Kate Rauner, with thanks to

Betelgeuse is a bright star in Orion, a constellation many folk can find. Right now, in the northern hemisphere, Orion dominates the winter night sky. Betelgeuse has  dimmed and brightened before, but this is especially notable. It’s supposed to be detectable with the unaided eye. Hmm. When my current snow storms clear out, I’ll have to bundle up and check.

PS: Don’t worry. Betelgeuse is 642.5 light years away. If it goes supernova, it will be way cool to observe (even visible in the daytime) but not dangerous to life on Earth. As far as we can tell.

diagram of constellation Orion

Cosmic Event Coming Soon… Maybe – there’s always a maybe! #astronomy #stars #space #telescope

Constellation Cygnus outlined as Northern Cross


KIC 9832227 is a binary star in the constellation Cygnus, and it’s about to explode.

Most statements like that about cosmic events then go on to say “in a billion years” or something similar. Time is different for you and me versus the universe.

Not KIC 9832227! The two stars are:

likely to merge into a single star in the year 2022 and create an explosive event called a red nova that should be visible to the naked eye.

The stars are currently orbiting so close to one another that they’re actually touching and sharing a single atmosphere. They’re spinning faster and faster and getting closer together.

We should see KIC 9832227 brighten to a magnitude 2 (about as bright as Polaris) for about six months. The exact timing is projected to be 2022.2 ±.6. From Brian Dunn,

Sigh. There’s a “maybe.” Wikipedia, those spoilsports, say this date is unlikely because of some variations in stellar movements that we don’t understand well.

It seems that I’ll find out who’s right soon enough.

Gigantic Planet or Cold Star – Results Make You Wonder #space #astronomy #galaxy #poetry #poem

Science inspired poetry - Kate Rauner

What might a brown dwarf star look like?

So far away
It’s hard to say,
In the center of the Milky Way.

Enormous planet,
It’s gigantic,
Lensing light fantastic.

Consider brown dwarf,
But not big enough
For fusing quarks to morph.

Twenty-two thousand
Lightyears away,
That’s seven thousand parsecs
Into the Milky Way.

by Kate Rauner

OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb is a planet so huge (thirteen times the size of Jupiter) that it’s right at the edge of supporting fusion -of being a star.

Fascinating Light Curves Conquer Mystery of Exoplanets #star #space #astronomy #poem #poetry

Bingo! A planet!

Bingo! A planet!

Search for exoplanets –
such a romantic story.
Find other globes round other stars
a feat that’s extrasensory.

For it’s beyond a human eye
to view transits ephemeris.
Telescopes and cameras
are what we need to see this.

A light curve like a trail of dust
blown through a window crack,
or scattered grains of sand
dribbled from a carried sack.

A blur of readings suddenly
drops down a tiny bit.
Almost imperceptibly
a planet is, in photons, writ.

You can see beyond your eyes
and hear beyond your ears,
and reach beyond your outstretched hands
to mysteries like these.

by Kate Rauner

Learn more at wikipedia and find one of the latest discoveries at

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Starlight Speaks – #star #science #space #poem #poetry


The twin Keck Telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Everything we know
About the universe
Comes from feeble twinkles that
Speak grandly when observed.

When does the light arrive,
And comes from what direction?
How intense or diffuse
Are colors from refraction?

Light presents a barcode
Of dark lines to be read
Across the vibrant spectrum
From UV to infrared.

As starlight travels to the Earth

Each atom in the way
Leaves its mark within the beam
As photons fly away.

And so we know how far’s the star
How fast it moves by us,
If planets orbit ’round its disk
And what its core is made of.

by Kate Rauner

R&R 3 coversThanks for a wonderful explanation of how astronomers use starlight at

All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Star Sugars #poem #space #star #chemistry #poetry


Pillars of Creation, a famous stellar nursery

Via photosynthesis,
Plants store solar energy
In hydrated aldehydes,
Organics formed so cleverly.

Add nitrogen or phosphorus
For an acidic amide,
Defining protein molecules,
Solvents, enzymes, muscles, hide.

So why do interstellar clouds
Contain organic molecules,
Ubiquitous in dusty space
Where life can hardly be the rule?

There is compelling evidence,
Despite cold in extremity,
That cosmic rays are driving
An out-of-balance chemistry.

Unborn stars and planets,
Laced with heavy elements
Are interstellar nurseries
For compounds biorelevant.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to and A study of interstellar aldehydes and enols as tracers of a cosmic ray-driven nonequilibrium synthesis of complex organic molecules

Billion Year Old Ghost #star #space #science #amwriting #poem

charting the stars

charting the stars

Fourteen billion years ago,
Photons first became.
Twelve billion years ago they left
The first star ending darkness’ reign.

A star three times older
Than our own life-giving Sun,
Its photons traveled all that time
Till in our scopes their trip was done.

Our Sun will last another
Four or five billion years,
And collapse to carbon ash
Long after we were here.

The first star has had the time
To go supernova.
We see its birth when we look up
Though death has taken over.

Who will watch our Sun expand
And boil away Earth’s seas?
Who will see its giant phase?
Its helium flash recede?

Whoever turns their optics on,
Across the universe,
May still admire our pleasant orb
When Earth’s life has dispersed.

By Kate Rauner

VENTURE 2015 EBOOK CoverIn my science fiction novel Venture, a space station encounters the evolution of a

main sequence star, along with asteroid mining and crew conflicts. Journey with them.

Thanks to which reposted this article from April, 2000 – another message from the past.

The fate of our Sun is explained here: universetoday