A Leading Light in Atmospheric Science
Astronomers Warn of Risk of Misinterpreting JWST Planetary Signals
TEMPO Air Pollution Instrument Completes Satellite Integration
To Navigate the Heavens, Take a Seat
TEMPO Air Pollution Sensor Treks Toward Satellite Integration
Scientists Uncover Warehouse-Full of Complex Molecules Never before Seen in Space
AstroAI is a center that develop artificial intelligence to solve some of the most interesting and challenging problems in astronomy.
HITRAN and HITEMP Database
With techniques developed in quantum mechanics, molecular spectra can be modeled by a set of discrete fundamental parameters. The knowledge of these reference molecular spectroscopic parameters is essential to correctly characterize constituents of their environments, model their spectra and atmospheric conditions. Physicists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian maintain the HIgh-resolution TRANsmission (HITRAN) and HIgh TEMPerature (HITEMP) databases of molecular spectral parameters, along with the HITRAN Application Programming Interface (HAPI) which also enables one to access the database archive and process the data.
Physics of the Primordial Universe
The Big Bang theory of cosmology successfully describes the 13.7 billion years of evolutionary history of our Universe. However, it is known that the origin of the Big Bang is incomplete. We are interested in finding out what caused the Big Bang, and the physics involved in this primordial epoch. We study physics, build models and propose observables for the primordial universe using quantum field theory, general relativity and/or string theory, and test them with data from astrophysical observations.
In extreme environments, where pressure, temperature, and density are high, atoms change the way they emit and absorb light. Electrons are stripped from nuclei, forming a plasma, and the ions emit X-rays when struck by free electrons. To assist astronomers in identifying atoms under these harsh conditions, the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian maintains the AtomDB database of X-ray spectra. This catalog provides essential information for studying conditions in many astrophysical environments, including those near black holes, stars, and neutron stars.
Telescopes and Instruments
Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO)
Scientists study the atmospheres of many worlds with orbiting spacecraft, but Earth is the only planet where we can measure the effects of life — and of the negative impacts of civilization. When it is launched, NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) observatory will measure air quality in North America from a geostationary satellite, specifically tracking air pollution in unprecedented detail. The scientific instrument development is led by scientists and engineers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and NASA’s Langley Research Center.
Visit the TEMPO Website
Visit the TEMPO Website