Center for Astrophysics, Harvard and Smithsonian

An illustration of debris and satellites in the geostationary ring around Earth.

ISS Astronauts Forced to Briefly Take Shelter as Russian Satellite Suddenly Breaks Up in Orbit

Officials are unsure why the satellite fractured unexpectedly, splintering into nearly 200 pieces

The planet-forming disk is made of gas and dust.

This Giant Cosmic 'Butterfly' Is a Planet-Forming Disk

New research has confirmed that the celestial object may be the biggest of its kind ever found

Where do we get the seeds for seedless fruit?

Where Do We Get Seeds for Seedless Fruit? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

A picture of the International Space Station captured by the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2007. Last month, a two-ton pallet of batteries released by the space station in 2021 re-entered Earth's atmosphere. It was expected to mostly burn up upon re-entry, but a two-pound piece of debris that struck a Florida home may have come from the batteries.

Falling Object That Crashed Into Florida Home May Be Debris From the International Space Station

Nobody was hurt by the mysterious, two-pound object, but experts speculate it may be a piece of batteries ejected from the station in 2021

The new image of the Milky Way's black hole, seen in polarized light. It shows the organized magnetic fields that surround the black hole itself, from which no light can escape.

Astronomers Capture Dazzling New Image of the Black Hole at the Milky Way's Center

The first image of the black hole taken in polarized light, the new view shows the supermassive structure's magnetic fields and hints that it could be hiding an enormous jet

This year's titles include Daughter of the Dragon, Whalefall and Witness.

Smithsonian Scholars Recommend Their Favorite Books of 2023

Curators and staffers satisfied their endless curiosity with novels, short stories, biographies, art collections and journalistic reporting

A new musical piece is based on this composite image of the center of the Milky Way. The bright spot on the right is hot gas in infrared light, marking the approximate location of the galaxy's supermassive black hole.

Listen to the Center of the Milky Way Translated Into Sound

A new musical composition represents data from three NASA telescopes as a piece that was performed by an orchestral ensemble

The galaxy cluster Abell 2744, which lies in front of the galaxy containing the newly discovered black hole

Astronomers Spot the Oldest Black Hole Ever Seen, Shedding Light on the Early Universe

Dating to just 470 million years after the Big Bang, the ancient cosmic structure could help researchers understand how the first black holes formed

Dimorphos, a moonlet orbiting the asteroid Didymos, as seen by NASA's DART spacecraft 11 seconds before impact from 42 miles away.

The Asteroid Hit by NASA Seems to Be Moving Strangely, High School Students Find

After the DART spacecraft made contact with Dimorphos last year, the space rock's orbit is declining more than expected, according to preliminary research

Smoke from wildfires in Canada blankets the New York City skyline in a haze in July 2023.

New Satellite Tracking Air Pollution Releases Its First Images

The instrument, called TEMPO, will make hourly measurements of pollutants over North America that could help reduce exposure to unhealthy air

Neptune, captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. A new study finds a link between the planet's cloud coverage and solar activity.

Neptune's Clouds Have Disappeared, and the Sun Might Be Responsible

Scientists have linked shifts in the distant planet's cloud coverage to the ever-oscillating solar cycle, which is due to peak soon

An artistic rendering of the newly discovered LP 791-18 d exoplanet

Newly Discovered Exoplanet May Be Covered in Volcanoes

Astronomers found an Earth-sized world that could have liquid water on its surface and may be able to support life

Saturn's rings and five of its moons, as captured by the Cassini spacecraft in 2011. The five moons, from left to right, are Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea.

Saturn May Have Just Won the 'Moon Race' With 62 More Discovered

It will likely reign supreme as our solar system's planet with the most moons from now on, astronomers say

It is expected that about 18 meteors per hour will light up the sky at the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower this year.

How to Watch the Spectacular Lyrid Meteor Shower

One of the oldest recorded annual showers, the Lyrids will peak on April 22

One-third of the world’s population can’t see the starry band of light in the night sky that makes up the Milky Way (above). The new show “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky” at the National Museum of Natural History looks at the devastating impacts of artificial light.

Why It’s Time for a Worldwide Lights-Out Program

A new Smithsonian exhibition delves into the issue of light pollution, with easy solutions offering an immediate change

A revolutionary new tool, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA, will monitor the chemistry and changing dynamics of major pollutants (above: an Arizona power generating station).

This Eye in the Sky Promises Major Insights Into the Air We Breathe

The satellite mission TEMPO will detect pollutants at a neighborhood scale across the nation

This computer-generated image shows objects in Earth's orbit. The majority—around 95 percent—are bits of space junk.

Burning Space Junk Creates Mysterious Lights in California Sky

Bright streaks observed Friday were jettisoned equipment from the International Space Station re-entering Earth’s atmosphere

Astronomers and musicians have developed “sonifications” to bring the symphony of the cosmos to a wider audience.

What Does the Universe Sound Like?

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and other researchers have melded astronomy and music to offer a new oeuvre

How much advance warning would we have if a large comet were headed on a collision course with Earth?

How Much Warning Would We Have of an Earth-Shattering Comet? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

An enhanced-contrast image of Jupiter and its moon Ganymede taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2000.

Jupiter Reclaims Title of Planet With the Most Moons

After the discovery of 12 new moons, the gas giant now has 92 known natural satellites—and scientists expect to find more

Page 1 of 5