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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Timing a sextuple quasar

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores around which vast amounts of energy are being radiated. Indeed, so much light is emitted that the nucleus of a quasar is much brighter than the rest of the entire ...

date10 hours ago in Astronomy
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A hot Jupiter around a sun-like star

There are almost 1800 confirmed exoplanets known today, and over 4000 exoplanet candidates. Astronomers have obtained estimates for the masses and radii (and hence the average densities) of over four hundred of these confirmed ...

dateNov 18, 2015 in Astronomy
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Inferring the star formation rates of galaxies

Our Milky Way galaxy produces on average a few new stars every year across the entire system. Massive young stars emit large amounts of ultraviolet radiation which heats the local dust, and so the star formation process results ...

dateNov 23, 2015 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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Powerful jets from non-spinning black holes

A black hole is so simple (at least in traditional theories) that it can be completely described by just three parameters: its mass, its spin, and its electric charge. Even though it may have formed out of a complex mix of ...

dateNov 18, 2015 in Astronomy
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Disk gaps don't always signal planets

When astronomers study protoplanetary disks of gas and dust that surround young stars, they sometimes spot a dark gap like the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. It has been suggested that any gap must be caused by an unseen ...

dateNov 02, 2015 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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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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The ages of extragalactic jets

The longest known highly collimated structures in the universe are the narrow jets that emanate from the vicinity of powerful black holes in certain types of galactic nuclei. These narrow beams, often in pairs propagating ...

dateJun 08, 2015 in Astronomy
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