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.
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.
- 6th NuSTAR Public Data Release (01 Apr 2015)
679 new NuSTAR data sets from the first 24 months of observations
were released to the public NuSTAR archive on March 31st. 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.
- NuSTAR Cycle 1 Results (03 Mar 2015)
The list of NuSTAR targets accepted by the Cycle 1 peer review is
now available, Cycle 1 observations will start to be routinely performed on
April 1, 2015. Written evaluations will be sent to all NuSTAR Cycle 1 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 17 CfP, due March 17.
- NASA, ESA Telescopes Give Shape to Furious Black Hole Winds (19 Feb 2015)
Five simultaneous observations by Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the XMM-Newton
observatory are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole in
PDS 456 blow
outward in all directions -- a phenomenon that had been suspected, but
difficult to prove until now. See
Nardini et al. (2015, Science, 346, 860) for the full
- 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.
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