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.

National Geographic Article About the Brightest Gamma-ray Burst of all Time

October 31, 2023

On 10/9/22, the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) detected the brightest gamma-ray burst ever seen. National Geographic interviewed GBM graduate student Stephen Lesage (UAH), who was on GBM burst advocate duty when the burst occurred, GBM team member Eric Burns …

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Marshall Scientist and UAH Students Present at Conference Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Detection of Gamma-ray Bursts

October 31, 2023

Daniel Kocevski (ST12), Stephen Lesage (UAH), and Sarah Dalessi (UAH) presented invited talks at a conference held in Warrington, VA on behalf of Marshall Space Flight Center’s (MSFC’s) Relativistic Astrophysics Team. Kocevski presented on the status of the StarBurst and …

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Latest Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Discovery Papers and News

October 31, 2023

On 8/25/23, the Astrophysical Journal published online “IXPE and XMM-Newton Observations of the Soft Gamma Repeater SGR 1806-20” by Roberto Turolla al. On 9/1/23, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society published online “The X-ray polarization of the Seyfert 1 …

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Public Outreach at Alabama A & M State University

October 31, 2023

Katherine Stevenson-Chavis, Chief of the Astrophysics Branch at MSFC, attended the  Alabama A & M State University’s (HBCU) distinguished 23rd Putcha Venkateswarlu Annual Memorial Lecture on Friday, September 15, 2023. Venkateswarly was a physics professor who supervised over 50 PhD …

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Chandra: A Giant Black hole Destroys a Massive Star

October 2, 2023

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and other telescopes, astronomers have determined that a giant black hole, 290 million light-years away, has destroyed a large star and strewn its contents into space. This event, a “tidal disruption event,” or …

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