Astrophysics Division
CEA Saclay

UMR Astrophysics Instrumentation Modelisation

picto-accueil Our research laboratories


Jul 28th, 2020

Short X and radio pulses


Jun 4th, 2020

ELT/METIS instrument formally entering final design phase


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Ultra-high energy photons from a gamma-ray burst and radio follow-up


CDI Ingénieur concepteur en électronique numérique et software embarqué : 2018-7447 DRF-IRFU-DAP-LEDES


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picto 1 Research laboratories


The Astrophysics Division

A major space astrophysics laboratory

The Service d'Astrophysique (SAp - UMR AIM) is among the major space laboratories in France, in Europe and internationally. In direct collaboration with CNES, which is responsible for the space activities of French laboratories, SAp is strongly involved in space missions for ESA's Cosmic Vision scientific program and on bilateral missions supported by CNES. The development of astrophysics at the CEA began in partnership with CNES since its creation in the early 1960s. Astrophysics has since been a growing science with high potential for discoveries. Instruments, ever more numerous and more powerful, whether from the ground or on board satellites, make it possible to probe the universe with increased angular resolution and sensitivity across the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Meanwhile, modeling, particularly using computational simulations, is of increasing importance in astrophysics; astrophysical problems are mostly complex problems that involve other disciplines of physics. Astrophysics and other fields of physics enrich each other.

The Astrophysics division

The SAp-UMR AIM includes nearly 200 people, including 130 permanent staff mainly UMR AIM, a joint research unit CNRS-CEA-Paris Diderot and also of the Astroparticle and Cosmology UMR APC, CEA-CNRS -University Denis Diderot-Paris Observatory. The Astrophysics Service brings together researchers, engineers and technicians from the Service d'Astrophysique at CEA Irfu as well as research engineers at Sedi Irfu, the Université Paris Diderot and CNRS.


Our scientific projects

picto 3Astrophysics

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Developing instruments

picto 4 Instrumentation

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Modelling the Universe

picto 5 Modelisation

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Knowledge management of data archives

picto 6 Data





An Infrared and Sub-millimetre Observatory

The Herschel telescope is a scientific space mission developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) dedicated to observing the Universe in the infrared and sub-millimetre ranges (wavelengths between 60 et 670 µm), a window of the electromagnetic spectrum that is still largely unexplored. It measures 9 m in length, 4 m in diameter and will weigh over 3 metric tons upon launch. Herschel arrived at ESA in January 2008 and will be launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou on 31th, October 2008. It will then be, with its 3.5 m-diameter mirror, the largest telescope ever sent into space.

The main objectives of the mission are based on two approaches related to the question of Origins. Close to Earth, Herschel will probe the molecular clouds, which are true breeding grounds for young stars, with a view to understand the first stages in star formation. Further away, it will map out the heavens to discern galaxies at the time they were formed and thus enrich our attempts to explain the evolution of the Universe, from the Big Bang to the present.

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