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 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 will map 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 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.
  • 3rd NuSTAR Public Data Release (05 Feb 2014)
    104 New NuSTAR data sets from the first year of observations were released to the public NuSTAR archive on February 5th. NuSTAR data are accessible via the usual HEASARC archive interfaces, i.e., Xamin and Browse, by querying the NuSTAR master table (numaster). NuSTAR data can also be accessed from the HEASARC FTP site.
  • NuSTARDAS v1.3.1 Released (31 Jan 2014)
    Released January 28, 2014, NuSTARDAS v1.3.1 was included in the HEASOFT 6.15.1 release. NuSTARDAS v1.3.1 users should make sure to use version 20131223 of the NuSTAR caldb. An updated version of the NuSTARDAS Users Guide (v.1.5) is also available here.
  • Dead Star and Distant Black Holes Dazzle in X-Rays (09 Jan 2014)
    Two new views from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, showcase the telescope's talent for spying objects near and far. One image shows the energized remains of a dead star, a structure nicknamed the "Hand of God" after its resemblance to a hand. Another image shows distant black holes buried in blankets of dust.
  • Do Black Holes Come in Size Medium? (02 Dec 2013)
    In the stockroom of our cosmos, black holes come in size small and large. NASA's NuSTAR is helping to find our more about why medium-sized black holes are missing.

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