Astrophysics Branch

Marshall Space Flight Center's Astrophysics Branch uses space and ground-based observatories to peer back to the earliest epochs of the universe, unravel its mysteries, and study the most violent explosions in our galaxy and beyond. Our goal is to help discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars.

A growing black hole, called a quasar, is seen at the center of a faraway galaxy in this artist's concept. Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes discovered swarms of similar quasars hiding in dusty galaxies in the distant universe.

IXPE Launch Success and Guest Operations

December 14, 2021

IXPE successfully launched the early morning of 12/09/21. Hundreds of guests traveled to attend launch. Upon check-in at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Visitor Complex, guests received a launch gift bag, which included items such as an IXPE lapel pin, mission …

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Planetary Nebula, Misnamed but not Misunderstood

December 14, 2021

Chandra issued an image release on 12/02/21, “Planetary Nebula, Misnamed But Not Misunderstood.”  A new collection of planetary nebulas, containing X-rays from Chandra and optical light from Hubble, is available.  A planetary nebula is a phase that stars like our …

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Mini-Jet Found Near Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

December 14, 2021

Chandra issued a press release on 12/09/21, “Mini-Jet Found Near Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole”. Our Milky Way’s central black hole has a leak. This supermassive black hole looks like it still has the vestiges of a blowtorch-like jet dating …

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Fermi Gamma Ray Burst Monitor (GBM) Primary Data Server Moved

December 14, 2021

Efforts to move the aging/primary GBM data server hardware from the National Space Science and Technology Center onto the main campus of Marshall Space Flight Center have come to fruition.  The physical move was completed by MITS personnel on 12/07/21.  …

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Release of the Fermi Light Curve Repository

December 14, 2021

Daniel Kocevski (ST12) has worked with the Fermi Science Support Center (FSSC) to release a new database of multi-cadence light curves for over 1500 variable gamma-ray sources. The new Light Curve Repository (LCR) contains flux calibrated light curves on 3-day, …

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