Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


One year ago this week astronomers discovered an unusual object moving through space not too far from the Earth's orbit. In just a few days they realized it could not be a normal asteroid or comet – its path showed that it was not gravitationally bound to the solar system.


Most galaxies host a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at their nucleus (a supermassive black hole is one whose mass exceeds a million solar-masses.) A key unresolved issue in galaxy formation and evolution is the role these SMBHs play in shaping their galaxies.

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.