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.

Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Optimization of Optical Alignment

June 26, 2022

IXPE Science Operations Center (SOC) team successfully completed required adjustments needed to optimize optical alignment, to maximize system throughput and to center the image.   The change required a final Tip Tilt & Rotate (TTR) adjustment in Tip, which was successfully …

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Chandra: “Huge Rings Around a Black Hole”

June 26, 2022

A Chandra issued image, “Huge Rings Around a Black Hole”, was featured as NASA’s Image of the Day on 6/2/22. This image features a spectacular set of rings around a black hole, captured using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Neil Gehrels …

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Chandra Approved for Continued Operations

June 26, 2022

The NASA Science Mission Directorate conducts comparative reviews of operating missions within each division to maximize the scientific return from these missions within finite resources. NASA uses the findings from the Senior Reviews to define an implementation strategy and give …

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Chandra: Abell 2146: Colossal Collisions Linked to Solar System Science

June 26, 2022

The most recent Chandra image release, “Colossal Collisions Linked to Solar System Science” was issued on 6/7/22, and featured as NASA’s Image of the Day on 6/9/22. A shock wave about 1.6 million light years long is stretching along the …

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Senior Review Approves Fermi Mission Continuance

June 26, 2022

The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) Project was given general notice on 6/10/22, that the 2022 Senior Review Panel had conveyed a highly favorable review of Fermi.  The Fermi mission has been approved for another period of extended operations and …

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