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
Some content from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

Extended hard X-ray emission from a galactic nucleus

Supermassive black holes containing millions or even billions of solar masses of material are found at the nuclei of almost all galaxies. The Milky Way, for example, has a nuclear black hole with about 4 million solar masses ...

dateJun 12, 2017 in Astronomy
shares32 comments 0

Understanding star-forming galaxies

The more stars a typical spiral galaxy contains, the faster it makes new ones. Astronomers call this relatively tight correlation the "galaxy main sequence." The main sequence might be due simply to the fact that galaxies ...

dateJun 05, 2017 in Astronomy
shares223 comments 9

Star-forming filaments

Interstellar molecular clouds are often seen to be elongated and "filamentary" in shape, and come in a wide range of sizes. In molecular clouds, where stars form, the filamentary structure is thought to play an important ...

dateMay 22, 2017 in Astronomy
shares19 comments 37

Obscured supermassive black holes in galaxies

Most if not all galaxies are thought to host a supermassive black hole in their nuclei. It grows by accreting mass, and while feeding it is not hidden from our view: it generates X-ray emission and ultraviolet that heats ...

dateMay 16, 2017 in Astronomy
shares47 comments 2

Shocked gas in galaxy collisions

Collisions between galaxies, especially ones rich in molecular gas, can trigger bursts of star formation that heat the dust and result in their shining brightly in the infrared. Astronomers think that there is also significant ...

dateMay 01, 2017 in Astronomy
shares34 comments 10

A black hole in a low mass X-ray binary

A globular cluster is a roughly spherical ensemble of stars (as many as several million) that are gravitationally bound together, and typically located in the outer regions of galaxies. Low mass X-ray binary stars (LMXBs) ...

dateApr 24, 2017 in Astronomy
shares92 comments 0

The lifetimes of massive star-forming regions

Astronomers can roughly estimate how long it takes for a new star to form: it is the time it takes for material in a gas cloud to collapse in free-fall, and is set by the mass, the size of the cloud, and gravity. Although ...

dateApr 17, 2017 in Astronomy
shares123 comments 1

The space weather forecast for Proxima Centauri B

Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Earth (only 4.28 light-years away) is getting a lot of attention these days. It hosts a planet, Proxima Cen b, whose mass is about 1.3 Earth-mass (though it could be larger, depending ...

dateApr 03, 2017 in Astronomy
shares388 comments 4

The fate of exomoons

When a star like our sun gets to be very old, after another seven billion years or so, it will shrink to a fraction of its radius and become a white dwarf star, no longer able to sustain nuclear burning. Studying the older ...

dateMar 27, 2017 in Astronomy
shares282 comments 0