Shannon Hall

Award-Winning Freelance Science Journalist

Reported Features

The Mental-Health Crisis in Science
Nature, May 2023

With researchers reporting high rates of anxiety and depression, calls are growing to change toxic elements of the culture in science. Read the story in Nature's May 25 issue.

Sky & Telescope, April 2023

NASA's SOFIA observatory came to an abrupt end last September, leaving many scientists despondent and a number of projects unfinished. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's April issue.

Forecasting Future Quakes
Nature, March 2023

Geologists knew decades ago that a quake would strike southeastern Turkey, but precise prediction is still the stuff of science fiction. Read the story in Nature's March 06 issue or listen to it on their podcast.

An Unusual Home
Sky & Telescope, April 2022

A new survey hints that the Milky Way might be an outlier — with broad implications for our understanding of the universe. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's April issue.

The Case of the Dead Dinosaurs
Sky & Telescope, October 2021

Scientists can't agree on whether an asteroid strike or volcanic eruptions caused the downfall of the dinosaurs. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's October issue.

Breastfeeding and COVID Vaccines: What the Data Say
Nature, June 2021

Early studies suggest that vaccines are safe and that antibodies transfer in milk. But do they protect the baby? Learn more in Nature's June issue.

The Hunt for the First Exomoons
Sky & Telescope, September 2020

A handful of scientists are attempting to discover the first moons outside our solar system — a finding that would be transformative, yet remains elusive. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's September issue.

Toxic Transformation
Scientific American, September 2020

How Venus might have changed from habitable to harsh. Learn more in Scientific American's September issue.

The Dark Side of Pluto
Nature, July 2020

Five years after a jaw-drapping fly-by, images of the dwarf planet's far side reveal possible signs of liquid water, mysterious shards of ice and new theories for the frigid world's birth. Learn more in Nature's July issue.

Frozen Mission to the Top of the World
Nature, May 2020

After three months trapped in Arctic ice, researchers have returned with crucial information about the rapidly warming region. Learn more in Nature's May issue.

Dark Fiber Detectors
Scientific American, March 2020

Fiber-optic cables stretching below cities, above glaciers and along the seafloor could record earthquake virbations and more. Learn more in Scientific American's March issue.

We're Barely Listening to the U.S.'s Most Dangerous Volcanoes
The New York Times, September 2019

A thicket of red tape and regulations have made it difficult for volcanologists to build monitoring stations along Mount Hood and other active volcanoes.

Opportunity's End
Sky & Telescope Magazine, September 2019

The Martian rover's spectacular and heartbreaking saga helped rewrite textbook knowledge of the Red Planet. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's September issue.

Dead Sea Life
Scientific American, July 2019

Evidence of ancient bacteria in the lake's sediments may point to past life on Mars. Learn more in Scientific American's July issue.

The Race to Venus
Nature, June 2019

After decades of neglect, the world's space agencies can no longer resist the pull of Earth's evil twin. Learn more in Nature's June issue.

Lighting a Cosmic Fuse
Sky & Telescope Magazine, June 2019

Type Ia supernovae — the cosmic mileposts that helped prove the universe is accelerating — are not as uniform as astronomers once thought they were. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's June issue.

The North Magnetic Pole's Mysterious Journey Across the Arctic
The New York Times, February 2019

Scientists accelerated the update of a model of Earth’s fluctuating magnetic field, which is needed to keep navigational systems functioning. Many wondered what’s happening inside the planet’s core.

Missing Galaxies? Now There's Too Many
Quanta Magazine, January 2019

Astronomers couldn’t find enough satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Now they have the opposite problem, suggesting that our understanding of how galaxies get built is incomplete.

Hidden Inferno
Scientific American, December 2018

A supervolcano may be brewing underneath Chile, with a cold interior that is upending ideas about triggers of huge eruptions. Learn more in Scientific American's December issue.

Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink
Quanta Magazine, November 2018

Quasars powered by supermassive black holes have been unexpectedly vanishing. Scientists have started to figure out why.

Destination: Venus?
Sky & Telescope, September 2018

Our toxic twin might be a scientific treasure-trove, but infrequent visits are hindering studies, causing many planetary scientists to grow frustrated. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's September cover story.

Kepler's Unknown Legacy
Sky & Telescope, January 2018

The world's best planet hunter is also peering deep within stars, enabling astronomers to better understand how both stars — and the galaxy — evolved. Learn more in Sky & Telescope's January issue.

What to Believe in Antarctica's Great Ice Debate
Scientific American, December 2017

Although not all the studies agree, most climate scientists argue that, yes, Antarctica is losing mass in a warming world. Read more in Scientific American's special collector's edition: "The Science Behind The Debates."

The Recipe For Other Earths
Nature, December 2017

Experimental geologists are joining efforts to understand what it takes to form habitable planets. Read more in Nature.

Dawn of Plate Tectonics
Scientific American, December 2017

Recent findings heat up the debate over when these crust movements first got going. Learn more in Scientific American's December issue.

Flash of Inspiration
New Scientist, April 2017

We're starting to illuminate lightning's persistent mysteries. Learn more in New Scientist's April issue.

The Secrets of Super-Earths
Sky & Telescope, March 2017

The galaxy is teeming with planets that have no parallel in our solar system and were once thought impossible. Read more in Sky & Telescope's March cover story.

Infinite Fronteirs
New Scientist, January 2017

Lost in the multiverse? We're finally navigating many worlds. Read more in New Scientist's January cover story.

The Milky Way, Transformed
Scientific American, December 2016

A new map of our galaxy will improve understanding of stellar physics — and ultimately of the Milky Way's entire history. Learn more in Scientific American's December issue.

The Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts
Sky & Telescope, July 2016

A decade ago astronomers discovered an ultrabright, ultrabrief flash of radio waves. Now, more than a dozen have been spotted, revealing tantalizing clues to their nature. Read more in Sky & Telescope's July issue.

Untwinkling the Stars
Sky & Telescope, May 2016

How did the world's largest telescopes conquer the tempestuous atmosphere? Find out in Sky & Telescope's May issue.