The Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR Mission
Current time (UT): 2018-01-21 16:48:06
NICER most recent pointing: PSR_J0537-6910 From: 2018-01-21T16:43:08 until: 2018-01-21T16:52:38
Next pointing: PSR_J0437-4715_opt1 At: 2018-01-21T16:53:00 until: 2018-01-21T17:00:29
Early Post-Launch NICER activities
- July 13 Begin Science Program
- June 21-July 12 Initial calibration and hardware commissioning
- June 17 NICER uses Raster scan of Serpens X-1 to determine X-ray instrument and star tracker alignment
- June 14 NICER is powered up, NICER is deployed, NICER range of motion is verified by robotic camera
- June 12-13 NICER is installed on the ISS ELC2
- June 11 2017 NICER is extracted from the Dragon trunk
- NICER/SEXTANT proves pulsars can function as a celestial GPS (12 January 2018)
"NASA test proves pulsars can function as a celestial GPS", published in Nature, discusses how NICER/SEXTANT for the first time demonstrated in-space navigation using X-ray pulsars as a form of a Galactic Positioning System. This method will help spacecraft autonomously steer themselves through deep space. These results were featured in a
press conference at the 231st Meeting of the AAS, in Washington DC.
- NICER overview published in Nature Astronomy (01 Dec 2017)
"Searching for a pulse", an overview of NICER by K. Gendreau and Z. Arzoumanian, has been published by Nature Astronomy (Nature Astronomy 1, 895, 2017).
- NICER ATEL: Observation of Fast X-ray Flares in GX 339-4 (06 Oct 2017)
NICER observed the black hole binary GX339-4 which is currently in outburst. The average hard color (4-12 / 2-4 keV) is near 0.5 or higher, which is harder than the value for Crab (0.25). These results are consistent with the report that GX339-4 is in a faint black hole hard state (Gandhi et al., Atel 10820).
- NICER First ATEL: The Hard X-ray transient MAXI J1535-571 (22 Sep 2017)
NICER has observed the hard X-ray transient MAXI J1535-571 several times from 2017 September 9 through September 20. The source had a NICER count rate ranging from 3,200 to 17,000 counts per second over this interval. NICER detects a set of low-frequency QPOs in a 1:2 frequency ratio, while the time-averaged spectrum shows broadened iron emission and puts constraints on the black hole spin parameter and the inclination of the accretion disk.
- NICER Featured on "Science in Seconds" (08 Sep 2017)
NICER was featured on "Science in Seconds" a short introduction to NICER, with NASA Associate Administrator Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen and Dr. Rita Sambruna, NICER program scientist.
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