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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The discovery of the molecule Si-C-Si in space

The space between stars is not empty—it contains a vast reservoir of diffuse material with about 5-10% of the total mass of our Milky Way galaxy. Most of the material is gas, but about 1% of this mass (quite ...

dateJun 29, 2015 in Astronomy
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The physical properties of dense molecular clouds

Small, dense interstellar clouds of gas and dust, containing hundreds to thousands of solar-masses of material, are suspected of being the precursors to stars and stellar clusters. These so-called cores, ...

dateJun 25, 2015 in Astronomy
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Star formation near supermassive black holes

Most if not all galaxies are thought to host a supermassive black hole in their nuclei, a finding that is both one the most important and amazing in modern astronomy. A supermassive black hole grows by accreting ...

dateJun 22, 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 ...

dateJun 08, 2015 in Astronomy
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The cosmic evolution of galaxies

Our knowledge of the big bang has increased dramatically in the past decade, as satellites and ground-based studies of the cosmic microwave background have refined parameters associated with the very early ...

dateMay 11, 2015 in Astronomy
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An improved model for star formation

Star formation, once thought to consist essentially of just the simple coalescence of material by gravity, actually occurs in a complex series of stages. As the gas and dust in giant molecular clouds come ...

dateMay 08, 2015 in Astronomy
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Birth of a radio phoenix

Abell 1033 is a cluster of over 350 galaxies located about 1.7 billion light-years away. Collisions between galaxies in clusters are common events, and each merger heats and shocks the nearby gas. The rapidly ...

dateApr 28, 2015 in Astronomy
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Astronomers find runaway galaxies

We know of about two dozen runaway stars, and have even found one runaway star cluster escaping its galaxy forever. Now, astronomers have spotted 11 runaway galaxies that have been flung out of their homes ...

dateApr 23, 2015 in Astronomy
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Cosmologically complicating dust

The universe was created 13.7 billion years ago in a blaze of light: the big bang. Roughly 380,000 years later, after matter (mostly hydrogen) had cooled enough for neutral atoms to form, light was able to ...

dateApr 20, 2015 in Astronomy
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Distance measurement of a microlensing event

The distance to celestial objects is key to calculating their intrinsic properties like mass and luminosity. Distance, unfortunately, is also one of the most difficult parameters to measure. The most direct ...

dateApr 06, 2015 in Astronomy
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Measuring galaxy evolution with globular clusters

Globular clusters are gravitationally bound ensembles of stars, as many as a million stars in some cases, grouped in roughly spherical clusters with diameters as small as only tens of light-years. Globular ...

dateMar 23, 2015 in Astronomy
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