Center for Astrophysics, Harvard and Smithsonian

An illustration of LHS 1140b orbiting its faint red star

Exoplanet Discovery Arrives in Time for New Telescope Technology

Astronomers call LHS 1140b one of the "best targets" for hunting liquid water with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Shortly after the announcement of the TRAPPIST-1 system, NASA crowdsourced its Twitter followers for possible planet names. The actual process of naming new planets, however, is a bit more involved.

How Do New Planets Get Their Names?

Sorry, Planet McPlanetface: Asteroids, moons and other celestial bodies go through a strict set of international naming guidelines

The seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.

Scientists Spot Seven Earth-Sized Planets Orbiting a Nearby Star

This newly discovered solar system presents the best opportunity yet to study potentially habitable worlds, NASA scientists report

An infrared image of 47 Tucanae, a dense globular cluster of stars located roughly 16,000 light years from Earth. A new study has predicted that a black hole lies at its center.

How Astrophysicists Found a Black Hole Where No One Else Could

A new method could help scientists peer inside universe's densest star clusters to find undiscovered black holes

At the top of Dome A, an unmanned research station, is a smattering of antenna masts, small shipping containers, scientific equipment and a lot of footprints that take years for the snow and meager wind to cover up.

The Coldest, Driest, Most Remote Place on Earth Is the Best Place to Build a Radio Telescope

This remote Antarctic field station is an ice-covered arid desert, perfect for peering deep into space

Margaret Harwood sits on the floor for this posed tableau taken on May 19, 1925. Harvia Wilson is at far left, sharing a table with Annie Cannon (too busy to look up) and Antonia Maury (left foreground). The woman at the drafting table is Cecilia Payne.

In "The Glass Universe," Dava Sobel Brings the Women 'Computers' of Harvard Observatory to Light

Women are at the center of a new book that delights not in isolated genius, but in collaboration and cooperation

An artist's impression of the Milky Way six million years ago, depicts an orange bubble at the galactic center and extending to a radius of about 20,000 light-years. Scientist think that outside of that bubble, a pervasive "fog" of million-degree gas might account for the galaxy's missing matter.

Solving the Mystery of the Milky Way’s Missing Mass

Smithsonian scientists have discovered a huge cloud of super hot gas expanding from the middle of our galaxy

After a century in which black holes went from theoretical nuisances to undisputed facts, a new initiative at the Harvard -Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will study them.

Stephen Hawking on Why Black Holes Are Worthy of Your Consideration

A new Harvard-Smithsonian initiative will delve into the places in the universe where spacetime sags around massive objects

An artist’s rendering shows a white dwarf star shredding a rocky asteroid.

Dead Star Shredding a Rocky Body Offers a Preview of Earth's Fate

The stellar corpse spotted by a NASA telescope backs up a theory that white dwarf stars eat planetary remnants

Does this look infected?

Life May Have Spread Through the Galaxy Like a Plague

If alien life is distributed in a pattern that mirrors epidemics, it could be strong support for the theory of panspermia

A solar flare erupts from the Sun in 2012.

When Will the Next Solar Superflare Hit Earth?

The year 2209 just got a lot scarier

An Easter Typhoon and Galactic Ghosts Are Among These Spacey Visions

Astronauts spy a colossal eye and Hubble sees echoes of quasars past in our picks for the week's best space images

A Rainbow Eclipse and X-Ray Fireworks Are Among These Cosmic Treats

A solar eclipse painted the cloudy U.K. skies and an explosion rocked a stellar corpse in our picks for this week's best space images

These Stellar Wonders Include a Red Aurora and a Billowing Black Hole

A light show over Montana and an eruption snapped by a satellite feature among our picks for the week's best space images

This optical atomic clock uses strontium atoms to tell time.

Send Atomic Clocks to Space to Find Gravitational Waves

A new breed of the hyper-accurate clocks could help scientists detect the elusive ripples in space-time faster and cheaper

These Spacey Treats Include a Galactic Smiley Face and an Interstellar Rose

A lucky lens and a pair of mismatched star twins feature among our picks for the week's best space images

Ask Smithsonian: How Does a Satellite Stay Up?

Meet a Harvard-Smithsonian researcher who monitors all the satellites and explains why they rarely fall

In the garden, Levisticum is a tall plant with dark leaves and greenish-yellow flowers. Under a microscope, however, it can morph into a cellular rainbow. This image was made using polarized light to enhance contrast. Waves in polarized light share an orientation, and special filters can block out any unpolarized waves and make the fine details easier to see.

New Exhibit Showcases the Power of Light in Our Everyday Lives

The open-source show "LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb" crosses disciplines to show the many ways photonics has improved our lives

This artist's depiction shows a gas giant planet akin to Jupiter rising over an alien ocean.

New Super-Earths Double the Number of Life-Friendly Worlds

Three studies looking at small, rocky planets are helping astronomers figure out how common worlds like ours are in the galaxy

A combination of infrared and X-ray observations indicates that a surplus of massive stars has formed from a large disk of gas around Sagittarius A*.

Inside Black Holes

Three recent black hole events and how they shape our universe

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