Harvard University astronomers and Smithsonian Institution astronomers explore the cosmos together. The combination of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is known as the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA).

News Releases

August 19, 2019

A new study using data from the IRAC camera on NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope provides a rare glimpse at the conditions on the surface of a rocky planet around another star. The exoplanet very likely has little to no atmosphere, according to the data, and could be covered in the same cooled volcanic material that comprises the dark lunar regions known as mare. The exoplanet therefore might be similar to Mercury, or to Earth's Moon.

August 15, 2019

Scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have announced the discovery of the most massive star ever known to be destroyed by a supernova explosion, challenging known models of how massive stars die and providing insight into the death of the first stars in the universe.

Latest Science Update

August 16, 2019

Over thirty years ago, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite discovered that the universe contained many extremely luminous galaxies, some more than a thousand times brighter than our own Milky Way, but which are practically invisible at optical wavelengths.

SI Specific Information

SI-specific information regarding the government shutdown may be found at alerts.si.edu. SAO staff are encouraged to review the website for updated information