The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array Mission - NuSTAR

NASA's latest high-energy astrophysics observatory, NuSTAR, is the first focusing high-energy X-ray mission, opening the hard X-ray sky above 10 keV for sensitive study for the first time. During its mission, NuSTAR will search for black holes, map supernova explosions, and study the most extreme active galaxies.

NuSTAR is a Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The NuSTAR Mission web site can be found here. NuSTAR data are being archived at the HEASARC.

NuSTAR has been approved to continue operations through 2018 (subject to review by the 2016 NASA Astrophysics Senior Review of Operating Missions) and to have a Guest Observer (GO) Program. GO proposals for the first announcement of opportunity (AO-1) were due on November 25, 2014, and were reviewed in February 2015. The list of accepted targets for this AO is now available. NuSTAR AO-1 GO observations commenced in April 2015 and continued through April 30, 2016. GO proposals for the second announcement of opportunity (AO-2) for observations in the period from May 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017 were due on December 11, 2015, and were reviewed in February 2016. The list of accepted targets for this AO is also now available. Phase 2 (budget) proposals are due in NSPIRES for selected AO-2 proposals by a to-be-determined date in May 2016. Further information about AO-2 is available on the NuSTAR proposal page.


NuSTAR Frequently Asked Questions

NuSTAR Publications List Maintained at Caltech

NuSTAR Publications List Maintained at the HEASARC


Introduction to NuSTAR

NuSTAR was launched at 9 am PDT, June 13, 2012 on a Pegasus XL rocket which was dropped from a Lockheed L-1011 "TriStar" aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean near the Kwajalein Atoll.

NuSTAR is the first mission to use focusing telescopes to image the sky in the high-energy X-ray (3 - 79 keV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our view of the universe in this spectral window has been limited because previous orbiting telescopes have not employed true focusing optics, but rather have used coded apertures that have intrinsically high backgrounds and limited sensitivity.

During its two-year primary mission phase, NuSTAR has been observing selected regions of the sky in order to:

  1. Probe obscured active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity out to the peak epoch of galaxy assembly in the universe (at z <~ 2) by surveying selected regions of the sky;

  2. Study the population of hard X-ray-emitting compact objects in the Galaxy by mapping the central regions of the Milky Way;

  3. Study the non-thermal radiation in young supernova remnants (SNR), both the hard X-ray continuum and the emission from the radioactive element 44Ti;

  4. Observe blazars contemporaneously with ground-based radio, optical, and TeV telescopes, as well as with Fermi and Swift, so as to constrain the structure of AGN jets; and

  5. Observe line and continuum emission from core-collapse supernovae in the Local Group, and from nearby Type Ia events, to constrain explosion models.

Artist concept of Nustar in orbit

Latest News
  • Happy 4th Birthday to NuSTAR (14 Jun 2016)
    The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) spacecraft was launched on a Pegasus XL rocket dropped from a Lockheed L-1011 "TriStar" aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean near the Kwajalein Atoll on June 13, 2012. Since then it has made over 1660 hard X-ray observations in science mode which have yielded (to date) hundreds of refereed and other publications.
  • NuSTARDAS v1.6.0 Released (11 May 2016)
    Released on May 11th, 2016, NuSTARDAS v1.6.0 was included in the HEASoft 6.19 release on the same date. NuSTARDAS v1.6.0 users should make sure to use version 20160502 (or later) of the NuSTAR CALDB. An updated version of the NuSTARDAS users guide (v1.9.0) is also available.
  • NuSTAR Cycle 2 Results (04 Mar 2016)
    The list of NuSTAR targets accepted by the Cycle 2 peer review is now available. Cycle 2 observations will start to be routinely performed on May 1, 2016. Written evaluations will be sent to all NuSTAR Cycle 2 PIs in the next few weeks. As specified in the AO, U.S. PIs of proposals with category A or B targets will be invited to submit phase-2 funding proposals. Note that 0.5 Ms of NuSTAR observing time is also available through the Chandra Cycle 18 CfP, due March 15, 2016.
  • Joint NuSTAR/INTEGRAL Observing Time is Available in INTEGRAL AO-14 (29 Feb 2016)
    In the just-released INTEGRAL Fourteenth Announcement of Opportunity, ESA is providing the opportunity to propose for coordinated observations with NuSTAR for a total of 100 ks of available time. The deadline for INTEGRAL AO-14 proposals is April 8th, 2016.
  • NASA News: Andromeda Galaxy Scanned with High-Energy X-ray Vision by NuSTAR (05 Jan 2016)
    NuSTAR has captured the best high-energy X-ray view yet of a portion of our nearest large, neighboring galaxy, Andromeda (M 31). The space mission has observed 40 "X-ray binaries" -- intense sources of X-rays comprised of a black hole or neutron star feeding off a stellar companion. Daniel Wik of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center presented these results at the 227th meeting of American Astronomical Society in Kissimmee, Florida

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