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

April 13, 2020

Scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian today announced the discovery and study of the brightest, most energetic, and likely most massive supernova ever identified. SN2016aps is believed to be an example of a "pulsational pair instability" supernova, and may have formed as the result of the merging of two massive stars prior to the explosion.

April 9, 2020

An international collaboration of scientists—with key contributions from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—today announced the first measurement of sub-stellar atmospheric wind speed ever recorded outside the solar system using a novel technique.

Latest Science Update

May 22, 2020

Massive galaxies in the local universe, in order to be large today, probably began forming their stars in the early universe. Astronomers do indeed see significantly enhanced star-formation activity in distant galaxies and find that the peak star formation rate occurred when the universe was only about two billion years old.

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