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.

Address
60 Garden St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
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Resolving the planetesimal belt around HR8799

Planets develop from the dusty placental disk of material that surrounds a star after it begins to shine. The dust in that disk, according to most models, starts to stick to itself until clumps develop large enough to attract ...

dateAug 15, 2016 in Astronomy
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Is Earthly life premature from a cosmic perspective?

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago. Some scientists think this time gap means that life on other planets could be billions of years older than ours. However, new theoretical ...

dateAug 01, 2016 in Astronomy
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Cosmic 'Death Star' is destroying a planet

The Death Star of the movie Star Wars may be fictional, but planetary destruction is real. Astronomers announced today that they have spotted a large, rocky object disintegrating in its death spiral around a distant white ...

dateOct 21, 2015 in Astronomy
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The aligned spin of a black hole

A black hole in traditional theory is characterized by having "no hair," that is, it is so simple that it can be completely described by just three parameters, its mass, its spin, and its electric charge. Even though it may ...

dateAug 01, 2016 in Astronomy
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The role of magnetic fields in star formation

The star forming molecular clump W43-MM1 is very massive and dense, containing about 2100 solar masses of material in a region only one-third of a light year across (for comparison, the nearest star to the Sun is a bit over ...

dateJul 29, 2016 in Astronomy
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The minimum mass of a proto-solar system disk

Astronomers estimate that at the time the Solar system formed, its proto-planetary disk contained the equivalent of about twenty Jupiter-masses of gas and dust. This so-called "minimum mass solar nebula (MMSN)" is derived ...

dateOct 19, 2015 in Astronomy
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Orphaned protostars

Stars form as gravity contracts the gas and dust in an interstellar cloud until clumps develop that are dense enough to coalesce into stars. Precisely how this happens, however, is very uncertain, and the processes are hard ...

dateJul 25, 2016 in Astronomy
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Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. ...

dateAug 27, 2015 in Astronomy
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Discovery of the companions of millisecond pulsars

When a star with a mass of roughly ten solar masses finishes its life, it does so in a spectacular explosion known as a supernova, leaving behind as remnant "ash" a neutron star. Neutron stars have masses of one-to-several ...

dateSep 28, 2015 in Astronomy
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