Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


3C196.1 is a massive elliptical galaxy, the brightest member of a cluster of galaxies about three billion light-years away that is notable for its strong X-ray and radio emission. The radiation is a characteristic signature of accretion processes around a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's nucleus.


Most stars with the mass of the sun or larger have one or more companion stars, but when and how these multiple stars form is one of the controversial central problems of astronomy.

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.