"Creating a miniature star on Earth" is the goal of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), home to the world's highest-energy laser in California. On September 29th, 2010, the NIF completed its first integrated ignition experiment, where it focused its 192 lasers on a cylinder housing hydrogen fuel.
Physicists propose there may be a new stage for some dying stars. Dubbed electroweak stars, they are fueled by the conversion of quarks to leptons, which prevents or staves off collapse into a black hole.
Before our planets found their way to the stable orbits they circle in today, they wiggled and jostled about like unsettled children. Now, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found a young star with evidence for the same kind of orbital hyperactivity.
Garik Israelian is a spectroscopist, studying the spectrum emitted by a star to figure out what it's made of and how it might behave. It's a rare and accessible look at this discipline, which may be coming close to finding a planet friendly to life.