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Cosmic Journey

Journey with us from the sun to the stars and beyond
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Looking up, wondering what’s beyond, and exploring the mysteries of the cosmos have been human pursuits for thousands of years. This urge to know more continues, inspiring exploration, creativity, and scientific advancement. Join us on a cosmic journey that takes us from our closest star, the sun, to the far reaches of the universe with events and virtual resources from across the Smithsonian. Stay tuned for information about our Solstice Saturday celebration on Saturday, June 22.

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Four Amazing Chandra Instagram Experiences

The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space in July 1999, and ever since it has been capturing amazing images of our universe. Now you can bring these cosmic objects into your home with augmented reality effects in Instagram. Snap a selfie with the Helix Nebula or share a video of the Vela Pulsar in your backyard with friends and read up on the facts included in the effects so you can better understand what you are seeing.

Cosmic Events

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Wonder & Awe

A new Smithsonian guide features stories and activities that connect us to our “place in space” through the lenses of art, culture, history, and science. The sky belongs to everyone—from the women who mapped the universe over a century ago, to the astronomers who captured the first picture of a black hole, to the artists who inspire us with celestial connections.

Our Closest Star and Planetary Neighborhood

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) was established in 1890 as a research unit of the Smithsonian concentrating on studies of solar radiance. Today SAO's areas of research include virtually all branches of astrophysics as well as areas of earth and planetary sciences. Learn about the tool SAO built to probe the sun as it makes its closest approach to the sun in 2024. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is also a home for Earth and planetary research and shares a wealth of information on our solar system and its history.

Our Universe

The Smithsonian has been answering big questions about our atmosphere and beyond for more than a century at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. We continue to ask and answer questions through original research at the National Air and Space Museum and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). Key areas of research at the CfA include exoplanets, the sun and solar weather, asteroids and comets, and "The Extreme Universe" that includes the study of black holes, pulsars, supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and magnetars.

Cosmic Collections

Explore space through the lenses of art, history, culture, and science in the Smithsonian's collections.