Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates

12/12/2014

The Sun rotates slowly, about once every 24 days at its equator although the hot gas at every latitude rotates at a slightly different rate. Rotation helps to drive the mechanisms that power stellar magnetic fields, and in slowly rotating solar-type stars also helps to explain the solar activity cycle.

12/05/2014

Stars are born in dense, cool clouds of molecular gas and dust. When the local density is high enough, the matter can gravitationally collapse to form a new star, a so-called young stellar object (YSO).

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.