Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


About twenty-five percent of young stars in our galaxy form in clustered environments, and stars in a cluster are often close enough to each other to affect the way they accrete gas and grow.


GW170817 is the name given to a gravitational wave signal seen by the LIGO and Virgo detectors on 17 August 2017. Lasting for about 100 seconds, the signal was produced by the merger of two neutron stars.

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.