Guide to NuSTAR Cycle 5 Proposers


The start date for Cycle 5 has been changed from June 1, 2019, to July 1, 2019; hence, Cycle 5 will last for a nominal period of 11 months, see NRA clarification from February 19, 2019. However, the observing time available for Cycle 5 NuSTAR GO programs remains the same as originally planned (~8.5 Ms). If there are projects requiring NuSTAR observations between June 1 and June 30, 2019, such observations can be requested through unsolicited NuSTAR Target of Opportunity (ToO) or Directors Discretionary Time (DDT) Observations. Due to the delay of the Cycle 5 start time, approved Cycle 4 observations will extend into June, including the opportunity to trigger Cycle 4 ToOs.

1. Overview

This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits Guest Observer proposals for NuSTAR. Approximately 8.5 Ms of time will be available in the observing period June 1 July 1, 2019 - May 31, 2020. $3.0M in funding will be made available to support the analysis of targets accepted at priority A, B or C. Priority C targets will be observed on a "best-effort" basis. Target proposals will be considered from both US and foreign PIs. Data from approved GO observations, with the exception of Target of Opportunity (ToO) observations, have a nominal one-year exclusive-use period commencing at the time of receipt of the processed data by the observer. Data from peer review approved ToO observations have a six-month exclusive-use period. Only PIs affiliated with, and located at, a US institution will be eligible for funding for accepted NuSTAR proposals through NASA. As part of the NuSTAR Cycle 5 program, up to 1.5 Ms of XMM observing time, up to 300 ks of Swift observing time, and up to 250 ks of NICER observing time will be made available for coordinated observations with NuSTAR.

2. Deadline

Proposals are due no later than March 29, 2019 4:30pm (EDT).

Note that the last day to request assistance for pointings with potential stray light to NuSTAR SOC is March 27th, 2019.

3. What's New in AO5

Call for Large Programs (>500 ks)

A total of up to 2 Ms of NuSTAR Cycle 5 observing time will be made available for a new Large Program (LP) category. The minimum exposure time for LPs is 500 ks, and such proposals will have an additional page of text to describe the proposed program. Data from approved Cycle 5 LPs will have a one year exclusive use period after which the data will be placed in the public archive. A single-trigger ToO may be proposed as part of an LP (e.g., where a long observation is needed after the initial trigger). An approved LP with a ToO would have a six-month exclusive use period.

Joint Observing with NICER

Proposals for joint NuSTAR/NICER programs will be accepted up to a total of 250 ksec of NICER observing time. Joint proposals must provide a compelling justification of the need for both the NuSTAR and NICER data for achieving the primary science goals and receive a Category A or B rating to be considered for acceptance. NICER data sets obtained through approved joint NuSTAR/NICER proposals have the standard NuSTAR exclusive-use period and will be released publicly via the HEASARC data archive. Joint NuSTAR/NICER ToO proposals are only allowed for known sources (i.e., with known coordinates) in Cycle 5.

4. Proposal Elements and Submission Method

Additional details concerning Cycle 5 are given in the NuSTAR NRA. There will be a two-phase proposal process. Phase one is for observing proposals. Phase two is for budget proposals for successful phase one proposers who were awarded priority A or B targets. Only observing proposals will be accepted at this time.

Proposal submission is done via the HEASARC ARK/RPS on-line system. Hard-copy submission is not required. The following elements are required:

The following should not be submitted:

5. Some Key Details of the Proposal Form

New NuSTAR PIs must first create an ARK account and/or join the NuSTAR RPS group. Having done so, the NuSTAR RPS form can be accessed via ARK/RPS.

We provide below some key details for NuSTAR Cycle 5. For further details, consult the ARK/RPS help file.

Cover Page
General Form
Target Form

After completing all fields for a proposal in ARK/RPS, use the Verify button to confirm that all required entries exist and conform to the expected format. Forms that pass verification can then be submitted. ARK/RPS allows PIs to continue to modify submitted proposals until the deadline, so there is no penalty for submitting the proposal form early.

The LaTeX, PostScript, and PDF buttons of ARK/RPS can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms. Although it is often useful for the PIs to keep formatted copies of the forms for the record, it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.

6. Scientific Justification