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.

Department head

Anne Decourchelle


Last update : 06/27 2017 (535)

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Activity report 1997 - 2001 : Nuclear Astrophysics High Energies Cosmology Structuration of Matter XMM results  
Adaptive optics for radio astronomy : Novel image processing techniques have been discussed today at the SKA Science Conference in Goa, India, as French researchers have updated the astronomy community on promising work being undertaken in France to develop new algorithms for radio astronomy, with potential applications beyond.  French teams from Observatoire de Paris, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, AIM Laboratory, Labex UnivEarthS, ENS Cachan and Université Paris X are actively working on state-of-the-art algorithms for ... More »
Astrophysics at the CEA : The presence of astrophysics within the CEA has always benefited astrophysics and been beneficial to the CEA. Astrophysical activity began in the 1960s. At that time, the CEA wanted to develop nuclear (both civil and military) and had already acquired wide experience in instrumentation for detecting X and γ radiation. At the same time, space studies were starting to develop with the foundation of CNES in 1961. Since X- and γ- radiations from space are absorbed by the atmosphere, it was natural to combine the ... More »
Dust enshrouded star formation in the cluster of galaxies Abell 1689 : Using the ISOCAM camera working at wavelengths higher than 10 microns, SAp scientists and their colleagues discovered that galaxies of the cluster Abell 1689 host star-formation regions which are partially or totally enshrouded in dust. For galaxies detected at 15 microns, the total star formation rate is on average ten times higher than that estimated from usual indicators calibrated in the optical. Compared to those of Abell 1689, galaxies in nearby clusters form stars at much more moderate rates and in a more ... More »
Hotels / Accomodation :   Home   Venue   Objective   Programme   SOC   Registration   We recommend to book your hotel yourself near a RER B train stop in Paris (Gare du Nord, Chatelet-Les Halles, Luxembourg, Palais Royal, Denfert Rochereau). The train stop to reach CEA Saclay is Le Guichet which is on RER B toward Saint Rémy Les Chevreuses (25 min from Denfert; 44 min from Gare du Nord). Below is a list of hotel near Denfert Rochereau or ... More »
Organization of SAp : Until the end of 2001, the Astrophysics Service of DAPNIA (SAp) was organized into groups of engineers and researchers according to the wavelength being studied (X, γ, IR, etc.), plus a «theoretical» group and a space experiments group (Geres). At the start of 2002, SAp was reorganized into nine laboratories, five bringing physicists together to look at a particular scientific area, and four space instrumentation laboratories – including one detection laboratory, combining physicists, engineers and technicians ... More »
SAp Instrumental projects : SAp, with the support of SIS and SEDI, is involved in the realization of three major space instruments (the PACS and SPIRE HERSCHEL instruments and MIRI, the mid-infrared instrument to equip the JWST telescope, the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope). SAp also participate in the GLAST and PLANCK projects but only on software for data analysis. SAp is also actively preparing the future by leading feasibility studies of five projects, four space projects and one ground-based project.
SAp principal research programs and projects : SAp is principally working in the following areas: • the birth of stars and planets (molecular cloud fragmentation, early stages in the formation of stars, circumstellar disks, Saturn’s rings, etc.); • the life of stars (magneto-hydrodynamic phenomena of stellar plasmas, activity of young stars, the Sun, massive stars and presupernovae, etc.); • the final stages in the life of stars (formation of black holes, X-ray binaries, microquasars, explosion of supernova, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, ... More »
SAp relations with other Institutions : SAp has always been very open to the outside, welcoming researchers from other institutes. For this reason, very close links have existed between SAp and CNRS since the mid-70s. The structure of this collaboration has, for a long time, been an associated research unit (URA 2052). In 2001, the decision was made to convert the URA to a transitional research federation (FRE2591), a 2-year temporary structure enabling the unit to evolve to a new structure, namely a mixed research unit (UMR). Since 1997, DAPNIA’s ... More »
SAp Scientific production : At the end of 2003, SAp had 94 CEA staff (48 physicists, 28 engineers and 18 technicians), 9 CNRS staff, 7 university staff, 21 PhD students and 17 post-doctoral students. The table below summarizes the scientific production for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. Of the 315 articles published between 2001 and 2003 in class A journals, five were published in Science and one in Nature. Three prizes and distinctions have been awarded to members of SAp: • 2002, Jacques Paul: Massey Award from the Royal Society and the ... More »
Weekly Sap Seminar : Location: Galilée Room, Bat 713, Orme des Merisiers
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