Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago
CfA Scientists Help Reach New Milestone in Quest for Distant Galaxies
Astrophysicists Hunt for Second-Closest Supermassive Black Hole
The Tilt in our Stars: The Shape of the Milky Way's Halo of Stars is Realized
JWST Draws Back Curtain on Universe's Early Galaxies
Dozens of Newly Discovered Gravitational Lenses Could Reveal Ancient Galaxies and the Nature of Dark Matter
A Massive Galaxy Supercluster in the Early Universe
CfA Celebrates Class of 2022 Graduates
Scientists Have Spotted the Farthest Galaxy Ever
Astronomers Reveal Remarkable Simulations of the Early Universe, from the Dark Ages through First Light
Lisa Kewley Named Director of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
2MASS Redshift Survey
Galaxies are distributed in long filaments, huge “walls”, and large clusters, which astronomers call the large-scale structure of the cosmos. This structure is a tracer of dark matter, and is a way to understand how the universe has evolved. The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) is an ambitious map of the galaxies relatively close to the Milky Way. Led by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, 2MRS used data collected from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), which is an an atlas of the entire sky in infrared light. The completed 2MRS project resulted in a three-dimensional view of the distributions of nearby galaxies, providing a way to understand the structure of the modern universe and distribution of dark matter.
Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)
The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) consortium is conducting a five-year survey to map the large-scale structure of the Universe over one-third of the sky and 11 billion years of cosmic history, aiming to study the physics of dark energy.
GMACS - Moderate Dispersion Optical Spectrograph for the Giant Magellan Telescope is a powerful optical spectrograph that will unlock the power of the Giant Magellan Telescope for research ranging from the formation of stars and planets to cosmology.
James Webb Space Telescope Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES)
JADES will use guaranteed time in James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) cycle 1 to produce infrared imaging and spectroscopy of unprecedented depth in the two premier extragalactic deep fields, GOODS-South (CDF-S) and GOODS-North (HDF). These data will reveal the early phases of galaxy formation, probing the rest-frame optical spectroscopy and morphology of galaxies from redshifts 2-3 out to z>10. JADES expects to collect data on about 100,000 galaxies, adding to the extensive legacy of these well-studied fields.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey continues its twenty-year legacy of wide-field optical/infrared imaging and spectroscopy, which has led astronomy into the era of large archives and data science. Harvard and Smithsonian are both full institutional members of the latest epoch of the survey, SDSS-V, which started observations in 2020.
The H3 Stellar Spectroscopic Survey
The H3 Survey is answering the question: how did the Milky Way Galaxy grow and assemble over cosmic time? To answer this question, a group of scientists at the CfA and the University of Arizona are mapping the outer limits of the Galaxy with >200,000 stars observed with the 6.5m MMT telescope in Arizona.
Large galaxies and galaxy clusters sometimes act like lenses. Their gravity distorts the structure of spacetime, magnifying light from more distant objects. This effect, known as strong gravitational lensing, allows astronomers to study galaxies that would ordinarily be too far to see, map the distribution of mass in the galaxies doing the lensing, and measure the expansion rate of the universe. The CASTLeS (CfA-Arizona Space Telescope Lens Survey) is a program jointly managed by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and the University of Arizona, which used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to study multiple aspects of strong gravitational lensing as caused by galaxies. Today, CASTLeS team members maintain a catalog of these lenses, updated with new observational data.
CfA Redshift Catalog
The universe is expanding, carrying galaxies with it like flotsam on a fast-flowing river. This expansion also stretches the wavelength of light, which astronomers call cosmological redshift, since it pushes visible light colors toward the red end of the spectrum. That means astronomers can determine the distance to far-away galaxies by measuring the redshift of light they produce. The CfA Redshift Catalog (ZCAT), created by researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, is a clearinghouse for historical redshift data from a number of observatories, including the 1.5-Meter Tillinghast Telescope and the MMT Observatory, both CfA-operated telescopes located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Arizona. This data provides a map of galaxies in three dimensions, allowing astronomers to piece together how galaxies group on the largest scales in the universe. ZCAT is an essential resource for data on redshift surveys up to 2008, carrying on the legacy of the original CfA Redshift Surveys conducted in the 1970s and ‘80s.
The Star Formation Reference Survey
Astronomers study star formation as a way of understanding our own origins, as well as the structure of galaxies and the evolution of the cosmos as a whole. However, the farther back in time, astronomers often rely on a single measurement type for each galaxy to measure star-formation rates. The Star Formation Reference Survey (SFRS) is designed to improve and assess the reliability of all of these measurements by cataloging nearby star formation, using NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope and other observatories. The data produced provides a useful reference data across a wide range of wavelengths in the spectrum of light, which can be applied across surveys of star formation in close-by and distant galaxies. The SFRS observational effort is led by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, in collaboration with other researchers around the world.