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Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian Solar, Stellar & Planetary Sciences (SSP) division research is directed toward understanding star and planet formation and the physical processes in the Sun, stars, planets, and stellar systems.

The Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences (SSP) division focuses much of its research on the Sun -- namely, addressing its basic stellar properties, its atmosphere and corona, and its effects on the Earth. Studies of other stars seek to measure the age, chemical composition, mass, radius, and temperature and to understand the structure of surrounding disks, magnetic fields, and winds. Searches for objects in our own solar system and for extra-solar planets enable the growing field of comparative planetology and inform theoretical investigations of star and planet formation and evolution.

Observational data used by the SSP Division are obtained from ground-based observatories (such as the MMT Observatory, Magellan, and the Whipple Observatory) and from satellites including the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the Kepler Space Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.