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Big Questions

The research at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian centers on humanity’s greatest unresolved questions about the nature of the universe. These questions have been pondered for generations, and our research is bringing us closer to answers than ever before.

  • What conditions are necessary for life?
  • Does life exist outside of the solar system?
  • Why do we need an extremely large telescope like the Giant Magellan Telescope?
  • How do stars and planets form and evolve?
  • What happened in the early universe?
  • What do black holes look like?
  • What happens to space time when cosmic objects collide?
  • Why do galaxies differ so much in size, shape, composition and activity?
  • What is the universe made of?
  • How can astronomy improve life on earth?