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
archived at the HEASARC.
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 will map 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.
- 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.,
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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