NuSTAR first light image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New Star View

Astronomers have received a present - a new tool which provides an entirely new view of the Universe. This new tool is the NuSTAR observatory, newly launched on June 13, 2012. NuSTAR is an X-ray observatory which provides the sharpest view of the hard X-ray Universe ever. After a smooth launch and turn-on, which included deploying a 30-foot mast which holds the X-ray telescopes at the appropriate focal distance from the state-of-the-art X-ray detectors, NuSTAR obtained its "first-light" image, shown above. NuSTAR's first-light target was the high mass X-ray binary system Cygnus X-1, well known in song and story as the first and perhaps best-established black hole candidate. The image above shows the location of Cygnus X-1 in the constellation of Cygnus. The upper inset image shows an image of Cygnus X-1 from the INTEGRAL satellite, long the reigning champ in the field of hard X-ray imaging. The bottom image is the NuSTAR first-light image, and highlights the improvement in spatial resolution provided by the NuSTAR telescope and detector system. NuSTAR will have a 2 year prime mission during which it will obtain unprecedented views of black holes, supernova remnants, and other denizens of the hard X-ray Universe.
Published: July 2, 2012

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 09-Jul-2012 07:40:57 EDT