Since creation of the CfA in 1973, most staff members have been headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, sites in Arizona
and Hawaii, which house SAO's major ground-based observational
facilities, are also primary locations for CfA staff.
For nearly 400 years, astronomers have used ground-based
optical telescopes to explore the universe. Since the 1930s,
radio antennas have captured light from celestial sources.
The CfA currently operates telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii
and is a partner in facilities in Chile. CfA is also a partner
in the GMT consortium, a project to build the world's largest
Space observatories enable astronomers to observe
ancient light unimpeded by the Earth's atmosphere.
Aside from providing a clearer view at
optical and infrared wavelengths, these instruments
allow observations at X-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths
where the atmosphere is opaque. In addition to constructing
satellite instrumentation for studying the Sun, CfA scientists and engineers designed
and built major instruments for the Chandra and Spitzer
satellites. Today, several groups are studying approaches
for the next generation of space observatories.
Facilities that serve the scientific community by hosting
workshops and seminars and by providing opportunities for visiting
scientists to conduct or participate in collaborative research are also
located at CfA in Cambridge. Among them are the Institute for
Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (ITAMP), the Institute
for Theory and Computation (ITC), and the Center for X-ray Technology
An organization of uniquely skilled engineers, working in sophisticated assembly and test laboratories in Cambridge provides CfA scientists with the unusual opportunity to design and build both space and ground-based telescopes and other research instruments in-house.