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)
GO proposals for the first announcement of opportunity (AO-1) were due on
November 25, 2014, and were reviewed in February 2015. The list of
accepted targets for this AO is now
available. NuSTAR AO-1 GO observations commenced in April 2015
and continued through April 30, 2016. GO proposals for the second
announcement of opportunity (AO-2) for observations in the period from
May 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017 were due on December 11, 2015,
and were reviewed in February 2016. The list of
accepted targets for this AO is also now available.
Phase 2 (budget) proposals are due in NSPIRES for selected AO-2 proposals
by a to-be-determined date in May 2016.
Further information about AO-2 is available on the NuSTAR proposal page.
NuSTAR Frequently Asked
Publications List Maintained at Caltech
NuSTAR Publications List Maintained at the HEASARC
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 CALDB Update (23 Sep 2016)
The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on August 30, 2016 (CALDB version 20160922). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 61, valid through 2016-09-22.
- NuSTAR CALDB Update (30 Aug 2016)
The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on August 30, 2016 (CALDB version 20160824). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 61, valid through 2016-08-24.
- NuSTAR Feature: A Chorus of Black Holes Sings in X-rays (03 Aug 2016)
Supermassive black holes (SMBH) in the universe are like
a raucous choir "singing" in X-rays. When black holes pull in surrounding
matter, they let out powerful X-ray bursts. These "songs" of X-rays, coming
from a chorus
of millions of black holes, fill the entire sky - a phenomenon astronomers
call the cosmic X-ray background. NuSTAR has made significant progress in
resolving the high-energy X-ray background, finding that at least 35% is
attributable to SMBH, according to a new paper by
et al. (2016, ApJ, in press).
- NuSTAR CALDB Update (02 Aug 2016)
The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on August 2, 2016 (CALDB version 20160731). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 60, valid through 2016-07-31.
- The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and NuSTAR Data (28 Jul 2016)
The NuSTAR spacecraft flies through regions of the Earth's
radiation belts, e.g., the SAA, in parts of its orbit, resulting in an enhanced
background in its detectors.
The NuSTAR team has some advice about how to analyze data affected by such
high backgrounds (which is particularly applicable for fainter X-ray sources)
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For those interested in general
astronomy/astrophysics information please go to our Education and Public Outreach site.