Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Science Updates


Massive galaxies in the local universe, in order to be large today, probably began forming their stars in the early universe. Astronomers do indeed see significantly enhanced star-formation activity in distant galaxies and find that the peak star formation rate occurred when the universe was only about two billion years old.


Of the roughly 4300 exoplanets confirmed to date, about ten percent of them are classified as "hot Jupiters." These are planets with masses between about 0.4 and 12 Jupiter-masses and orbital periods less than about 110 days (implying that they orbit close to their star – usually much closer than Mercury is to the Sun - and have hot surface temperatures).

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.