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.

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Helps Researchers Maximize “Microquasar” Findings

February 27, 2024

On 1/16/24, NASA posted “NASA’s IXPE Helps Researchers Maximize ‘Microquasar’ Findings” (https://www.nasa.gov/missions/ixpe/nasas-ixpe-helps-researchers-maximize-microquasar-findings/).  The posting, coinciding with publication of the Astrophysical Journal Letters article, includes combined images from IXPE, Chandra, XMM-Newton, infrared, and radio observatories. The microquasar in question – Stephenson …

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Marshall Scientists Participate in the 243rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Orleans, LA

February 27, 2024

Multiple Marshall Space Flight Center Astrophysics scientists participated in the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Project Scientist, Steven Ehlert (ST12), gave a NASA Hyperwall presentation summarizing IXPE science results obtained thus far and, …

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Three Weeks of Digging for Pearls with Chandra

February 27, 2024

Peter Maksym attended the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society on 1/10/24, to present preliminary results for a collaboration that he is leading that uses Chandra X-ray observations to study a new deep survey field at the North Ecliptic …

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New Discovery Papers from the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Science Team

February 27, 2024

On 12/18/23, Astrophysical Journal published online “First X-ray Polarization Measurement Confirms the Low Black-Hole Spin in LMC X-3” by Jiří Svoboda et al. On 1/5/24, Astrophysical Journal Letters published online “Highly Significant Detection of X-ray Polarization from the Brightest Accreting …

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Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Passes Mission Adoption

February 26, 2024

The first space-based observatory designed to detect gravitational waves has passed a major review and will proceed to the construction of flight hardware. On 1/25/24, ESA (European Space Agency), announced the formal adoption of LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, …

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