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 Cycle 2 Results (04 Mar 2016)
The list of NuSTAR targets accepted by the Cycle 2 peer review is
now available. Cycle 2 observations will start to be routinely performed on
May 1, 2016. Written evaluations will be sent to all NuSTAR Cycle 2 PIs in
the next few weeks. As specified in the AO, U.S. PIs of proposals with
category A or B targets will be invited to submit phase-2 funding proposals.
Note that 0.5 Ms of NuSTAR observing time is also available through the
Chandra Cycle 18 CfP, due March 15, 2016.
- Joint NuSTAR/INTEGRAL Observing Time is Available in INTEGRAL AO-14 (29 Feb 2016)
In the just-released INTEGRAL
Announcement of Opportunity, ESA is providing the
opportunity to propose for coordinated observations with NuSTAR for a total of
100 ks of available time. The deadline for INTEGRAL AO-14 proposals is April
- NASA News: Andromeda Galaxy Scanned with High-Energy X-ray Vision by NuSTAR (05 Jan 2016)
NuSTAR has captured the best high-energy X-ray view yet of a
portion of our nearest large, neighboring galaxy, Andromeda (M 31). The space
mission has observed 40 "X-ray binaries" -- intense sources of X-rays comprised
of a black hole or neutron star feeding off a stellar companion. Daniel Wik of
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center presented these results at the 227th meeting
of American Astronomical Society in Kissimmee, Florida
- NuSTAR Guest Observer Cycle 2 Deadline Is Near (03 Dec 2015)
The deadline for NuSTAR Cycle 2 GO proposals is
imminent: proposals are due no later than
4:30 pm EST on December 11th.
- Swift and NuSTAR Observe a Major Flare of the Supermassive Black Hole in Markarian 335 (10 Nov 2015)
The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes have become
somewhat less mysterious recently, thanks to observations by NASA's Swift
and NuSTAR observatories which caught the supermassive black hole (SMBH) in
Mrk 335 in the midst of a giant eruption of X-ray light. These observations
(discussed in Wilkins
et al. 2015, MNRAS, 454, 4440) help address an ongoing
puzzle: How do SMBHs flare?
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