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).

Statement on Government Shutdown

All Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian Cambridge facilities remain open for staff and students.

As a result of the U.S. Federal Government shutdown, Smithsonian Federal employees are on furlough until further notice.

News Releases

January 16, 2019

Expected to see first light in early 2019, a prototype Schwarzchild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) for gamma-ray astronomy will be unveiled in a special inauguration event on January 17, 2019 at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Amado, Arizona.

January 14, 2019

Astronomers have discovered behavior by a jet from a giant black hole that has never been seen before. Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory they have observed a jet that bounced off a wall of gas and then punched a hole in a cloud of energetic particles. This behavior can tell scientists more about how jets from black holes interact with their surroundings.

Latest Science Update

January 18, 2019

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and its stars are arguably its most momentous handiwork. Astronomers studying the intricacies of star formation across cosmic time are trying to understand whether stars and the processes that produce them were the same when the universe was younger, about half its current age.

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