Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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The Wonder of Avi Loeb

The physicist thinks we might have glimpsed evidence of an alien civilization. Despite controversy, he’s determined to find more

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

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Construction of multiple telescopes has begun on Saishiteng Mountain—near the town of Lenghu in the Qinghai province of China. The site could be China’s first major observatory, on par with those in Hawaii, Chile, and the Canary Islands.

Future of Space Exploration

Why the Tibetan Plateau Might Be the Ideal Spot for the Telescope of the Future

A team in China has identified a location that could give the Eastern Hemisphere its first major observatory

Webb’s 18 mirror segments can lock into the largest telescopic mirror humankind has ever built.

Future of Space Exploration

The Five Big Ways the James Webb Telescope Will Help Astronomers Understand the Universe

The highly awaited observatory is set to break new ground in many areas of astronomical research

A new image of a powerful jet firing out of the black hole at the center of the radio galaxy Centaurus A, taken with the Event Horizon Telescope.

New Research

New Black Hole Image Shows Plasma Jets Blasting Into Space

Researchers say the new, detailed image of the black hole at the center of the Centaurus A galaxy could reveal how its jets formed

A new image of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. The image shows patterns of polarized light around the supermassive black hole, which in turn reveals the structure of the black hole’s magnetic fields.

New Research

Scientists Capture Swirling Magnetic Fields in New Image of Black Hole

The updated picture adds polarization, revealing new details of the stunning cosmic phenomenon

Fourteen contemporary artists collaborated to create a real-life version of the 1947 picture book.

Step Into the Pages of 'Goodnight Moon' With This Enchanting Exhibition

On view at Fort Makers in NYC, the show features 14 artists' reimagined interpretations of objects from the beloved children's book

Exoplanet GJ 1132 b was discovered in 2015 and is about 41 light years away from Earth

New Research

Unusual Exoplanet Might Be Regrowing Its Atmosphere

Remnants of the first atmosphere trapped under the planet’s thin crust might escape through volcanic eruptions

Published in Scientific Reports, the new study by astronomers Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, propose that a series of break-ups and chance events sent the huge chunk of space rock our way.

Astrophysicists Chart Source of Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

A new model explains a possible route for the extraterrestrial rock before it blasted Earth

An artist's rendering of the five-planet system that orbits star HD 108236, or TOI-1233. In the foreground is a hot, rocky planet that resembles Earth.

Balancing Homework and A.P. Classes, These High Schoolers Discovered Four Exoplanets

Thanks to a Harvard-Smithsonian mentoring program, high school students Kartik Pinglé and Jasmine Wright helped discover new worlds

This telescope located in Cerro Tololo, Chile is just one of many within the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network.

Smithsonian Voices

With This New Digital Telescope Tool, Anyone Can Access the Heavens

This freely available technology tool provides a unique learning experience for budding astronomers and artists alike

The spinning magnetar transferred a remarkable amount of energy to the debris created by the collision, heating the material up and generating a bright glow.

In a First, Astronomers Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar Following a Glorious Kilonova

The scientists originally thought that the cosmic crash would create a black hole

Why does smaller size, like that of the anteater, benefit species in different environments, wondered one Smithsonian reader.

Why Are South American Animals Smaller Than Those on Other Continents?

You've got questions. We've got experts

Goodnight Exomoon takes the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon and explores planetary science in a way that is relatable for the very young.

Inspire Your Toddler’s STEM Career With This ‘Goodnight Moon’ Parody

Astronomer Kimberly Arcand releases her new children’s book ‘Goodnight Exomoon’

Monitor local animal populations, identify plants, transcribe women astronomers' notes, bird-watch and more.

Education During Coronavirus

Seventy-Five Scientific Research Projects You Can Contribute to Online

From astrophysicists to entomologists, many researchers need the help of citizen scientists to sift through immense data collections

Students and teachers can download 3-D print-ready files of the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops skulls.

Holiday Gift Guide

Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print

The list includes Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, an Abraham Lincoln life mask and a coral skeleton

The central region of our Milky Way is a bustling galactic downtown with a supermassive black hole at its hub.

Chandra Telescope Observes Two Decades of Turning Theory Into Reality

A new book, 'Light From the Void,' showcases the telescope’s images of nebulas, supernovae, supermassive black holes and more

Left to right, top to bottom: Sheperd Doeleman, Michael Johnson, Sandra Bustamante, Jonathan Weintroub, James Moran, Aleks Popstefanija, Daniel Palumbo; Feryal Ozel, Joseph Farah, Neil Erickson, Peter Galison, Katie Bouman, Dominic Pesce, Garrett K. Keating; Nimesh Patel, Alexander Raymond, Kazinori Akiyama, Vernon Fath, Mark Gurwell, Gopal Narayanan, Peter Schloerb

American Ingenuity Awards

Meet the Global Team That Captured the First Image of a Black Hole

Never before had scientists seen the phenomenon until they rallied colleagues around the world to view a galaxy far, far away

Artist's impression of gas flow in a protoplanetary disk.

New Research

To Find Baby Planets, Researchers Chase Waterfalls of Gas

Analysis of data from the ALMA telescope shows gas flows from the surface to middle of protoplanetary discs as new planets form

Based on the speed and trajectory of a newly detected object, astronomers believe it came to our solar system from beyond. This illustration shows the first known interstellar object to fly though our solar system, 'Oumuamua.

Astronomers Spot a Comet That Likely Came From a Different Solar System

After 'Oumuamua, the newly detected rock is just the second known object to visit from interstellar space

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