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 will have a Guest Observer Program, with GO observations to commence in 2015.


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 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 is Highly Ranked by the 2014 Senior Review (22 May 2014)
    The Astrophysics Division's Senior Review in March and April this year ranked NuSTAR second among the nine operating missions that were considered by its panel. NuSTAR has been approved to continue operations through 2018 (subject to the 2016 Senior Review) and will have a Guest Observer Program, with GO observations starting in 2015.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Fiona Harrison! (09 May 2014)
    Fiona Harrison, the NuSTAR Principal Invesigator and the Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics and Astronomy in the Space Radiation Lab at Caltech, has just been elected to the National Academy Of Sciences.
  • 4th NuSTAR Public Data Release (07 May 2014)
    163 new NuSTAR data sets from the first 18 months of observations were released to the public NuSTAR archive on May 7th. 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.
  • 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.

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