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 initial mass function

The gas and dust in giant molecular clouds gradually come together under the influence of gravity to form stars. Precisely how this occurs, however, is incompletely understood. The mass of a star, for example, is by far the ...

dateDec 11, 2017 in Astronomy
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Dusty protoplanetary disks

Planetary systems form out of disks of gas and dust around young stars. How the formation proceeds, however, is complex and poorly understood. Many physical processes are involved including accretion onto the star, photoevaporation ...

dateDec 08, 2017 in Astronomy
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The mysterious star MWC349

Molecular clouds in interstellar space can sometimes produce natural masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) that shine with bright, narrow beams of radiation. Regions of active star formation generate some of the ...

dateDec 01, 2017 in Astronomy
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A new kind of quantum computer

Quantum mechanics incorporates some very non-intuitive properties of matter. Quantum superposition, for example, allows an atom to be simultaneously in two different states with its spin axis pointed both up and down, or ...

dateNov 06, 2017 in Quantum Physics
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The atmospheres of water worlds

There are currently about fifty known exoplanets with diameters that range from Mars-sized to several times the Earth's and that also reside within their stars' habitable zone – the orbital range within which their surface ...

dateOct 23, 2017 in Astronomy
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The remarkable jet of the quasar 4C+19.44

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores. So much energy is being radiated from near the nucleus of a quasar that it is much brighter than the rest of the entire galaxy. Much of that radiation is at radio ...

dateOct 16, 2017 in Astronomy
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New insights on dark energy

The universe is not only expanding - it is accelerating outward, driven by what is commonly referred to as "dark energy." The term is a poetic analogy to label for dark matter, the mysterious material that dominates the matter ...

dateOct 02, 2017 in Astronomy
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Fast radio bursts may be firing off every second

When fast radio bursts, or FRBs, were first detected in 2001, astronomers had never seen anything like them before. Since then, astronomers have found a couple of dozen FRBs, but they still don't know what causes these rapid ...

dateSep 21, 2017 in Astronomy
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