The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array Mission - NuSTAR

NASA's latest high-energy astrophysics observatory, NuSTAR, is the first focusing high-energy X-ray mission, opening the hard X-ray sky above 10 keV for sensitive study for the first time. During its mission, NuSTAR will search for black holes, map supernova explosions, and study the most extreme active galaxies.

NuSTAR is a Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The NuSTAR Mission web site can be found here. NuSTAR data are being archived at the HEASARC.

NuSTAR has been approved to continue operations through 2018 (subject to review by the 2016 NASA Astrophysics Senior Review of Operating Missions) and to have a Guest Observer (GO) Program. GO proposals for the first announcement of opportunity (AO-1) are due on November 25, 2014, with GO observations slated to commence in April 2015.

NuSTAR Frequently Asked Questions

NuSTAR Publications List Maintained at Caltech

Introduction to NuSTAR

NuSTAR was launched at 9 am PDT, June 13, 2012 on a Pegasus XL rocket which was dropped from a Lockheed L-1011 "TriStar" aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean near the Kwajalein Atoll.

NuSTAR is the first mission to use focusing telescopes to image the sky in the high-energy X-ray (3 - 79 keV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our view of the universe in this spectral window has been limited because previous orbiting telescopes have not employed true focusing optics, but rather have used coded apertures that have intrinsically high backgrounds and limited sensitivity.

During its two-year primary mission phase, NuSTAR has been observing selected regions of the sky in order to:

  1. Probe obscured active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity out to the peak epoch of galaxy assembly in the universe (at z <~ 2) by surveying selected regions of the sky;

  2. Study the population of hard X-ray-emitting compact objects in the Galaxy by mapping the central regions of the Milky Way;

  3. Study the non-thermal radiation in young supernova remnants (SNR), both the hard X-ray continuum and the emission from the radioactive element 44Ti;

  4. Observe blazars contemporaneously with ground-based radio, optical, and TeV telescopes, as well as with Fermi and Swift, so as to constrain the structure of AGN jets; and

  5. Observe line and continuum emission from core-collapse supernovae in the Local Group, and from nearby Type Ia events, to constrain explosion models.

Artist concept of Nustar in orbit

Latest News
  • NASA's NuSTAR Telescope Discovers Shockingly Bright Dead Star (08 Oct 2014)
    Bachetti et al. (2014, Nature, 514, 202) used NuSTAR (together with Chandra and Swift) to find a pulsating "dead" star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. This is the brightest pulsar ever recorded. The surprising find is helping astronomers better understand the mysterious sources of blinding X-rays, called ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs), which, until now, were all thought to be black holes.
  • The Pulse of a Dead Star Powers Intense Gamma Rays (16 Sep 2014)
    When the most massive stars explode as supernovae, they don't fade into the night, but sometimes glow ferociously with high-energy gamma rays. What powers these energetic stellar remains? NuSTAR is helping to untangle the mystery.
  • NuSTAR Guest Observer Cycle 1 Solicitation Released (26 Aug 2014)
    ROSES-14 Amendment 32 contains a new call under Appendix D.11 soliciting proposals to the NuSTAR Guest Observer - Cycle 1 announcement of opportunity which was released on August 26, 2014. The due date for proposals is November 25, 2014.
  • NuSTAR Sees Rare "Blurring" of Black Hole Light (12 Aug 2014)
    NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has captured an extreme and rare event in the regions immediately surrounding the supermassive black hole in Markarian 335. A compact source of X-rays that sits near the black hole, called the corona, has moved closer to the black hole over a period of just days so that the black hole's intense gravity has blurred and stretched its X-ray emission.
  • NuSTAR is Highly Ranked by the 2014 Senior Review (22 May 2014)
    The Astrophysics Division's Senior Review in March and April this year ranked NuSTAR second among the nine operating missions that were considered by its panel. NuSTAR has been approved to continue operations through 2018 (subject to the 2016 Senior Review) and will have a Guest Observer Program, with GO observations starting in 2015.

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