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Privacy Statement

Thank you for visiting the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) website and reviewing our privacy policy.

We will not collect personal information about you when you visit our website unless you choose to provide that information to us. If you do, we will use it consistent with the terms of this Privacy Policy. We will never sell, exchange, or release your personal information to third parties outside the CfA without your consent. If you believe that a violation of this policy has taken place, please contact us by email or by mail to: Webmaster, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, MS-39, Cambridge, MA 02138. We will do everything possible to resolve the situation to your satisfaction. The CfA has prepared Privacy Impact Assessments for systems that collect, maintain or disseminate information in identifiable form from or about members of the public.

Any changes to our privacy policy will be posted here. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we may use their information in this different manner.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If you visit our website, read pages, or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store some or all of the following information about your visit:

The Internet domain (for example, "" if you use a private Internet access account, or "" if you connect from a university's domain) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you access our website;
The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
The date and time you access our site;
The pages you visit; and
If you linked to the CfA website from another website, the address of that website.

If You Send Us Personal Information

The CfA will only collect personal information that you knowingly provide via email communication, registration, survey, on-line contribution, or other specific transaction in which you voluntarily participate. If you choose to provide us with personal information, in addition to completing the original transaction, we may use the information on occasion to provide you with information about a broad range of CfA activities, programs, contribution opportunities, and special events that we believe you will find interesting. When we send you such CfA information, you will always have an immediate opportunity to decline further correspondence. Additionally, if at any time you do not want us to send you CfA-related information, you may request prompt removal by sending an email to the webmaster address provided in the communication you received.

There may be websites within the CfA network of Web sites where you can opt-in to receive information from nonCfA entities. If you so choose, from time to time, you will receive correspondence from these organizations on programs, products, or services that they believe you will find interesting. If, at any time, you decide to opt-out of receiving further correspondence, please correspond with that business or organization to be removed from their mailing list.

Children and Privacy

We at the CfA are especially concerned about protecting children's privacy. We do not knowingly ask any child under the age of 13 to provide personal information. We do not collect personally identifiable information from our sites geared to children nor do we require children to supply information in order to obtain access to our children's content. Only a few places on the CfA network of web sites allow children to post messages or provide feedback; however, children are encouraged NOT to provide any personal information. If a child sends an email to CfA, we will only use it to respond to the writer but not to create profiles or otherwise retain the information. It is important for parents and teachers to be actively involved in children's Internet explorations and to emphasize to children that they should not provide personal information without parental consent.


We take reasonable precautions to ensure that all credit card transactions are secure. When you submit your credit card for any purchase or to make a donation at the CfA website, that transaction is encrypted using "Secure Socket Layer" (SSL) encryption to prevent your credit card information from being seen as it travels over the Internet to our servers.

We monitor network traffic to ensure that our site remains available to all users and to identify unauthorized attempts to access, upload, or change information or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized access is prohibited and is punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.


There are links from the CfA website to other websites outside the CfA. When you click on links that take you to third-party websites, you will be leaving our server and will be subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. While we support the protection of privacy on the Internet, the CfA cannot be responsible for the actions of third parties. We encourage you to read the posted privacy statement when interacting with any website.


The CfA welcomes your comments about our websites. Any questions that you may have about this site, this Privacy Policy, or the CfA are welcome. Please send your inquiry and comments to:

Related Links

Harvard University's Privacy Statement
Smithsonian Institution's Privacy Statement