Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is one of the largest and most diverse astrophysical institutions in the world, where scientists carry out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, earth and space sciences, and science education. The center's mission is to advance knowledge and understanding of the universe through research and education in astronomy and astrophysics. The center was founded in 1973 as a joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University. It consists of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The center's main facility is located between Concord Avenue and Garden Street, with its mailing address and main entrance at 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Beyond this location there are also additional satellite facilities elsewhere around the globe. The current director of the CfA, Charles R. Alcock, was named in 2004. The director from 1982 to 2004 was Irwin I. Shapiro.

60 Garden St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
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Where do stars form in merging galaxies?

Collisions between galaxies, and even less dramatic gravitational encounters between them, are recognized as triggering star formation. Observations of luminous galaxies, powered by starbursts, are consistent ...

4 hours ago
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Quadruplets in a stellar womb

More than half of all stars are in multiple systems: binary stars, or even triplets or quadruplets, that orbit one another. No one is quite sure how or why they form, but the effects can be significant, for ...

Feb 23, 2015
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Embryos of stars

Stars like the Sun begin their lives as cold, dense cores of dust and gas that gradually collapse under the influence of gravity until nuclear fusion is ignited. Exactly how the critical collapse process ...

Feb 16, 2015
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Mismatched twin stars spotted in the delivery room

The majority of stars in our galaxy come in pairs. In particular, the most massive stars usually have a companion. These fraternal twins tend to be somewhat equal partners when it comes to mass - but not ...

Feb 12, 2015
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The ages of sun-like stars

The mass of a star is perhaps its most significant feature. It determines how brightly it shines (a star ten times more massive than the Sun will, during its normal lifetime, shine about forty million times ...

Feb 06, 2015
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An infrared atlas of interacting galaxies

Most galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have been influenced by an interaction with another galaxy at some time in their past. Interactions between galaxies can trigger an increase in star-formation activity ...

Feb 02, 2015
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A recoiling, supermassive black hole

When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that reside at their cores will end up orbiting one another in a binary pair, at least according to current simulations. Einstein's general theory ...

Jan 26, 2015
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High-speed jets from a possible new class of galaxy

Seyfert galaxies are similar to spiral galaxies except that they have extraordinarily prominent, bright nuclei, sometimes as luminous as 100 billion Suns. Their huge energies are thought to be generated as ...

Jan 19, 2015
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The cosmic seeds of black holes

Supermassive black holes with millions or billions of solar-masses of material are found at the nuclei of most galaxies. During the embryonic stages of these galaxies they are thought to play an important ...

Jan 19, 2015
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Eight new planets found in 'Goldilocks' zone

Astronomers announced today that they have found eight new planets in the "Goldilocks" zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. This doubles the number ...

Jan 06, 2015
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New instrument reveals recipe for other Earths

How do you make an Earth-like planet? The "test kitchen" of Earth has given us a detailed recipe, but it wasn't clear whether other planetary systems would follow the same formula. Now, astronomers have found ...

Jan 05, 2015
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Super-Earths have long-lasting oceans

For life as we know it to develop on other planets, those planets would need liquid water, or oceans. Geologic evidence suggests that Earth's oceans have existed for nearly the entire history of our world. ...

Jan 05, 2015
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