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 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.

NuSTAR has been approved to continue operations through 2018 by the 2016 NASA Astrophysics Senior Review of Operating Missions and to have a Guest Observer (GO) Program. Further information about GO proposals is available on the NuSTAR Proposals page.

The NuSTAR Users' Committee (NUC) is a group of 5-10 astrophysicists representing a wide range of community interests who provide the NuSTAR project with broad-based input about the needs and priorities of the NuSTAR user community during the extended operational mission phase. The NUC is the primary interface between the NuSTAR community and the NuSTAR project and NASA headquarters and assists the NuSTAR Principal Investigator and Project Scientist during NuSTAR's operational phase and in preparation for future Senior Reviews.

Artist concept of Nustar in orbit

Latest News
  • NuSTAR CALDB Update (26 Jan 2018)
    The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on January 26, 2018 (CALDB version 20180126). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 78, valid through 2018-01-26.
  • NuSTAR CALDB Update (04 Dec 2017)
    The NuSTAR CALibration DataBase was updated on December 4, 2017 (CALDB version 20171204). This updates the NuSTAR clock correction file to version 76, valid through 2017-12-04.
  • NuSTAR Guest Observer (GO) Cycle 4 Solicitation (20 Nov 2017)
    Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science for 2017 (ROSES-17) Amendment 38 (released on Oct 6, 2017) contains the revised text for Appendix D.10 soliciting proposals to the NuSTAR GO Cycle 4 opportunity. The due date for proposal submission is Jan 19, 2018. Proposals should be submitted via the HEASARC's ARK Remote Proposal System (RPS). For more information about this AO, please visit the NuSTAR Proposal page.
  • NuSTAR Probes Black Hole Jet Mystery (31 Oct 2017)
    Using NASA's NuSTAR space telescope and a fast camera called ULTRACAM on the William Herschel Observatory in La Palma, Spain, Gandhi et al. have been able to measure the distance that particles in the jets from the black hole binaries V404 Cyg and GX 339-4 travel before they "turn on" and become bright in visible light. This distance called the "acceleration zone" is determined to be 0.1 light seconds (30,000 km) in these systems. See the published study in Nature Astronomy.
  • NuSTAR Users Commitee: Call for Self Nominations (18 Oct 2017)
    NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) high-energy mission announces the creation of the NuSTAR Users Committee (NUC). The NUC will provide community advice and feedback to the project, to ensure that the interests of the guest investigator community are well-served by the project. Membership on this committee is open to the world, and we intend a committee that is diverse in terms of career stage, gender, and scientific focus. Letters of self-nomination to serve on this committee are due by November 3rd, 2017.

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