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 will
have a Guest Observer Program, with GO observations to commence in 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.
- 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.
- Congratulations to Dr. Fiona Harrison! (09 May 2014)
Fiona Harrison, the
Invesigator and the Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics and
Astronomy in the Space Radiation Lab at Caltech, has just been elected to the
National Academy Of Sciences.
- 4th NuSTAR Public Data Release (07 May 2014)
163 new NuSTAR data sets from the first 18 months of observations
were released to the public NuSTAR archive on May 7th. 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 Untangles Mystery of How Stars Explode (19 Feb 2014)
NuSTAR observations of the supernova remnant Cas A is helping to unravel one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy, how massive stars explode.
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