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

  • Update to Enhanced Visibility Calculator (09 Feb 2024)
    The NICER enhanced visibility calculator, which provides detailed target visibility information taking into account blockages by ISS structures and other constraints, has been updated. This update allows calculation of target visibilities using orbit day target/sun angles greater than 90 degrees, appropriate for targets observed during ISS orbit day in the presence of the XTI light leak. The update also allows the user to calculate visibilities for observations restricted to orbit night or orbit day.
  • Update on Patching the NICER Light Leak (25 Jan 2024)
    On January 9, 2024, the NICER team received approval from the ISS program to proceed with a light-leak repair effort via either the ISS robotic system (EVR) or ISS astronauts during a spacewalk (EVA). The choice of EVR vs. EVA is expected to be made by the end of February. See the NICER Light-leak Update for more information.
  • NICER Cycle 6 Proposal Results Available (29 Nov 2023)
    The result of the recent NICER Cycle 6 review is now available for accepted proposals and approved targets. Cycle 6 begins March 1, 2024. The deadline for Cycle 6 Phase 2 proposals for accepted programs is January 24, 2024.
  • 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.

[More NICER News]