Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


Astronomical masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) were first identified in space over fifty years ago and have since been seen in many locations; astronomical lasers have since been seen as well.


Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are small solar system bodies whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, potentially threatening a collision. NEOs are tracers of the composition, dynamics and environmental conditions throughout the solar system and of the history of our planetary system.

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.