NICER Mission Timeline

Current Activity

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

  • The phase 1 proposal deadline for Cycle 2 of
    NICER's Guest Observer program is:
    4:30 pm ET on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

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

  • An X-ray Flare from eta Carinae as seen by NICER (03 Dec 2019)
    NICER monitoring of the massive colliding wind binary eta Carinae as the stars approach periastron passage has detected a sudden X-ray brightening. This X-ray flare is similar to the X-ray flaring seen at a similar orbital phase in previous binary orbital cycles. X-ray flaring should continue until the star reaches it X-ray maximum before the decline to the X-ray minimum on 2020 February 13.
  • NICER detection of 9.29 s pulsations from RX J0209.6-7427 (25 Nov 2019)
    NICER observations of the hard X-ray transient MAXI J0206-749 = HMXB RX J0209.6-7427 revealed a strong 9.29 s X-ray periodicity, making this system only the second confirmed pulsar in the Magellanic Cloud bridge.
  • NICER detection of a strong X-ray flare from GRS 1915+105 (25 Nov 2019)
    NICER detected a strong flare from the black hole binary system GRS 1915+105 during the source's current low flux state. The NICER flare was the largest yet seen from this system. This X-ray flare may have been the precursor to a strong radio flare seen from the source a short time after the NICER observation.
  • NASA's NICER Catches Record-setting X-ray Burst (07 Nov 2019)
    NICER detected an intense burst of X-rays at about 10:04 p.m. EDT on Aug. 20 from a massive thermonuclear flash on the surface of the pulsar SAX J1808.4-3658. This is the brightest burst seen by NICER so far. The burst shows a remarkable two-stage evolution in flux, along with and burst oscillations at the known pulsar spin frequency.
  • NICER Background Estimator Tools (30 Oct 2019)
    Software tools to estimate background in NICER observations are under development, based on analysis of deep NICER exposures of "blank-sky" fields. "Alpha-release" versions of these tools are now available to help NICER observers better estimate backgound in observations and proposals. Understanding of the NICER background is still evolving so the estimates provided by these new tools should be used with caution.

[More NICER News]