NICER Science Results
NICER Publications and Other Notable Items
Recent Science from NICER on the ISS
NICER observes a compact binary in outburst
This week, NICER received a Target of Opportunity (TOO) request to observe the cataclysmic variable (CV) star system "SS Cygnus". SS Cygnus is a compact binary system consisting of a red dwarf and a white dwarf separated by only about 100,000 miles in an orbit that is only 6.5 hours long. At about 400 light years away, it is a relatively nearby CV system and is one of the most observed variable stars in the sky.
The TOO was triggered because SS Cygnus appears to be in an optical outburst that occurs as matter from the red dwarf suddenly accretes onto the white dwarf. NICER has begun observations of SS Cygnus that will span nearly two weeks to track the X-ray evolution of the outburst. The figure shows the X-ray spectrum that NICER measured in the first few days.