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).

News Releases

October 12, 2020

Astronomers have captured the last moments of a star just before it was ripped apart by a black hole. The violent occurrence—called a tidal disruption event—created a blast of light seen just 215 million light years from Earth, the closest such flare recorded to date.

October 7, 2020

An international team of scientists has discovered planet formation in a star system younger than 500,000 years old. The find, published today in Nature, is a marked departure from previously accepted theories of planet formation, and indicates that stars and planets grow up together like siblings.

Latest Science Update

October 16, 2020

As the slightly spinning material in a pre-stellar condensation collapses to form a star, angular momentum conservation shapes it into a circumstellar disk. Planets form from the gas and dust in these disks, whose structure and evolution are thus keys to unraveling the planet-building process.

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