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
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
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
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:
- 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;
- Study the population of hard X-ray-emitting compact objects in the Galaxy
by mapping the central regions of the Milky Way;
- Study the non-thermal radiation in young supernova remnants (SNR), both
the hard X-ray continuum and the emission from the radioactive element
- 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
- Observe line and continuum emission from core-collapse supernovae in the
Local Group, and from nearby Type Ia events, to constrain explosion models.
- Will the Real Monster Black Hole Please Stand Up? (09 Jan 2015)
As described in
Ptak et al. (2015, ApJ, in press), a new
high-energy X-ray image from NuSTAR has pinpointed the
'true' monster in two colliding galaxies, collectively
called Arp 299, that are located 44 Mpc away. Each of the galaxies has
a supermassive black hole at its heart. NuSTAR has revealed that the black hole
located in Arp 299-B, the western of the galaxy pair, is actively gorging on
gas, while its partner Arp 299-A is either dormant or hidden under gas or dust.
- NuSTAR Observes Sun Sizzling in High-Energy X-Rays (22 Dec 2014)
For the first time, NuSTAR, a mission designed to observe black
holes and other objects far from our solar system has turned its gaze back
closer to home, capturing images of the Sun, and
producing the most sensitive solar portrait ever taken in hard X-rays.
Future NuSTAR images should provide even better data as the sun winds down its
solar cycle and might capture the hypothesized nanoflares that
may energize the solar corona.
- NuSTAR Guest Observer AO1 Deadline Is Near (14 Nov 2014)
The deadline for NuSTAR proposal submission is
4:30 pm EST on November 25th .
- 5th NuSTAR Public Data Release (23 Oct 2014)
214 new NuSTAR data sets from the first 24 months of observations
were released to the public NuSTAR archive on September 23rd. NuSTAR data are
accessible via the usual HEASARC archive interfaces, i.e.,
by querying the NuSTAR master table (numaster). NuSTAR data can also be
accessed from the HEASARC FTP site.
- NASA's NuSTAR Telescope Discovers Shockingly Bright Dead Star (08 Oct 2014)
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.
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