NICER Mission Timeline

Current Activity

Please see Upcoming and recent past pointings for up-to-date NICER observation scheduling.

NICER Enhanced Visibility Calculator

The NICER Enhanced Visibility Calculator calculates visibilities for targets over roughly the next 2-week period taking into account ISS orientation and target occultation by ISS structures and other relevant constraints. These visibility intervals are more accurate than visibilities based solely on Sun and Moon avoidance.

Other NICER Activities

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

Latest News

  • Important Bug Fix to NICERDAS 11 (24 Aug 2023)
    There's a significant bug in the version of nifpmsel released in HEASoft 6.32/NICERDAS 11, which can cause an incorrect normalization of lightcurves and spectra in some cases. NICERDAS users should update to HEASoft 6.32.1 and afterwards use nicerl2 to reprocess any NICER data processed with HEASoft 6.32/NICERDAS 11. A patch installer script is available to update existing HEASoft 6.32 installations to HEASoft 6.32.1.
  • HEASoft 6.32/NICERDAS 11 released (20 Jul 2023)
    HEASoft 6.32 was released on July 20, 2023. This release includes NICERDAS 11, a moderately significant feature release for NICER which contains a number of improvements, especially to deal with the optical light leak which developed on May 22, 2023. Please see the HEASoft 6.32 release notes for details.
  • Increase in NICER Daytime Light Loading (06 Jun 2023)
    On May 22, 2023, between 13:00 and 14:00 UTC, NICER appears to have developed an increase in optical contamination during daytime observations. The cause of this increase, and mitigation strategies are being evaluated. Observations during orbit night seem mostly unaffected. For details, please see the NICER "Tips and Caveats" page.
  • Spurious Timing Signal for NICER MPU 1 and 3 (22 Feb 2023)
    Since (at least) the start of 2023, low-sun angle data sets show non-science-related (spurious) power in a narrow band at 55 Hz, and a broad feature in the 18-30 Hz range. This timing feature is seen only on MPUs 1 & 3 (zero indexed), approximately identical for both MPUs and independent of energy. The NICER team is currently investigating the cause of this signal, and any remedies. Users should exercise caution in interpreting signals near these frequencies.
  • NICER Cycle 5 Accepted Proposals and Targets Now Available (24 Dec 2022)
    The NICER mission is pleased to announce that the proposal selection process for Cycle 5 of the Guest Observer program is complete, with observations scheduled to begin no later than March 1, 2023. Documents listing selected proposals and approved targets have been posted to the HEASARC's NICER Proposals Page.

[More NICER News]