About Our Logo

The CfA logo represents the broad range of astronomy and astrophysics research at the CfA. The crescent Moon shape symbolizes astronomical observations. Many centuries ago, visual observations of stars and planets allowed Copernicus to determine that the Sun was the center of the Solar System.

Today, we use digital images to discover exosolar planets and to record the history of galaxies in the observable universe.

The stylized spectrum of hydrogen symbolizes CfA leadership in astrophysics at all wavelengths. When we separate light into its component colors, we look for telltale sets of bright and dark lines from atoms, ions, and molecules. These 'fingerprints' allow us to measure the physical conditions in astronomical objects. In 1925, Cecilia Payne applied the new science of quantum mechanics to stellar spectra and showed that stars are made mostly of hydrogen. Today, we use spectra to measure the ages of stars in the Milky Way and the abundances of elements in the most distant galaxies.