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.

Chandra Flight Director’s Board approves Normal Sun Offset Flight Software Patch

December 12, 2023

On 11/2/23, the Chandra Program’s Flight Director Board approved the Normal Sun Offset Flight Software Patch. This patch will change the spacecraft attitude an intermediate saving action, Normal Sun Mode, from 90 degrees to 160 degrees. This will prevent longer …

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Chandra Exhibit Inspires Families at Huntsville STEAMfest 2023

December 12, 2023

On 10/28/23, Astrophysics Branch scientists Stephen Bongiorno and Lynnie Saade represented Chandra at the 2023 Huntsville STEAMfest NASA booth.  The yearly festival, held this year for the third time, is designed to engage students and their families on the topics …

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Marshall Engineering Technicians Featured on NASA’s Small Steps, Giant Leaps Podcast about IXPE

November 1, 2023

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Engineering Technicians John Hood, Amy Meekham, and Mark Sloan discuss details of their work on the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer. A joint effort between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer …

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Marshall Chandra Team Supports Trash Panda’s “Education Day” Game

November 1, 2023

On 9/6/23, Marshall’s Chandra X-ray Observatory team supported the “Education Day” game for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, Huntsville’s minor league baseball team. The team shared information about Chandra and high energy astrophysics and handed out Chandra bookmarks and activity …

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First Gamma-ray Burst Detections with Glowbug Reported to the Community

October 31, 2023

Glowbug has reported detections of four gamma-ray bursts via the General Coordinates Network. Glowbug is a NASA-funded gamma-ray telescope that is operating on the International Space Station. Glowbug is operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory with ground data analysis …

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