Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


Dust is a critical component in the Martian atmosphere. It influences the atmosphere's circulation by heating or cooling it and is in turn redistributed around the planet by atmospheric winds. In this dust cycle, dust storms play a particularly important role.


The formation and growth of galaxies in the early universe is a key research topic for future giant telescopes like the Giant Magellan Telescope and space missions like the James Webb Space Telescope. Meanwhile, computer simulations of cosmic galaxy development have made considerable progress in our understanding.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a "research institute" of the Smithsonian Institution. It is joined with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Because these research activities share Harvard and Smithsonian staff and resources, the links at this website will take you to information posted on the "CfA" pages.