Earth twin found around nearest star! Or was it? The announcement last month of a planet — one that could be just the right temperature to sustain liquid water — orbiting Proxima Centauri was certainly exciting. But it also generated a lot of hype, much of which might not be true. I’ll talk about what it was like, as an astronomer-turned-journalist, to cover one of the biggest astronomy stories of the year, including what a lot of outlets got wrong, what we actually know about the planet, and what the chances are of learning more about it in the years and decades to come. I’ll also talk about what it was like to make the transition from scientist to science writer.
Christopher Crockett is the astronomy reporter for Science News magazine. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles. After eight years of searching for exoplanets, probing distant galaxies and exploring comets, Chris realized he enjoyed talking about astronomy a lot more than actually doing it. After being awarded a fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013 to write for Scientific American, he left a research career at the U.S. Naval Observatory to pursue a new life writing about anything and everything within the local cosmological horizon.