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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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 ...

23 hours ago
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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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Stars' spins reveal their ages

When you're a kid every birthday is cause for celebration, but as you get older they become a little less exciting. You might not want to admit just how old you are. And you might notice yourself slowing ...

Jan 05, 2015
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Asteroids: Breaking up is hard to do

(Phys.org)—Hundreds of thousands of asteroids are known to orbit our Sun at distances ranging from near the Earth to beyond Saturn. The most widely known collection of asteroids, the "main belt," contains ...

Dec 29, 2014
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Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

Dec 22, 2014
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Kepler proves it can still find planets

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence ...

Dec 18, 2014
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Magnetic fields on solar-type stars

The Sun rotates slowly, about once every 24 days at its equator although the hot gas at every latitude rotates at a slightly different rate. Rotation helps to drive the mechanisms that power stellar magnetic ...

Dec 12, 2014
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Effects of accretion disks around newborn stars

Stars are born in dense, cool clouds of molecular gas and dust. When the local density is high enough, the matter can gravitationally collapse to form a new star, a so-called young stellar object (YSO). In ...

Dec 08, 2014
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Staying warm: The hot gas in clusters of galaxies

Most galaxies lie in clusters, groupings of a few to many thousands of galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy itself is a member of the "Local Group," a band of about fifty galaxies whose other large member is the ...

Nov 28, 2014
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