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 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) Program. 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 Questions

NuSTAR 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 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 has been observing 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
  • NuSTAR CALDB Update (08 Dec 2016)
    The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on December 8, 2016 (CALDB version 20161207). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 66, valid through 2016-12-07. This version is the long-awaited "corrected" clock correction file that tracks clock drift by fitting to screened clock data.
  • NuSTAR CALDB Update (25 Oct 2016)
    The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on October 25, 2016 (CALDB version 20161021). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 63, valid through 2016-10-21.
  • NuSTAR CALDB Update (23 Sep 2016)
    The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on September 23, 2016 (CALDB version 20160922). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 62, 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 Harrison et al. (2016, ApJ, in press).

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