NuSTAR Archive


After observatory activation, and a calibration and a verification phase, the first NuSTAR data sets became publicly available on August 29th, 2013 through NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC). The second NuSTAR data release (DR2) took place on November 25th, 2013, the third (DR3) on February 5th, 2014, the fourth (DR4) on May 7th, 2014, the fifth (DR5) on September 23rd, 2014. and the most recent (DR6) on March 31st, 2015, when 679 data sets (ObsIDs) were made public. As of this last data release, 1263 NuSTAR data sets (ObsIDs) were public. Notice that, in addition to these major data releases, there are some NuSTAR data sets from targets of opportunity (ToOs), coordinated observations with other observatories, and from the NuSTAR Guest Observer program (observations for Cycle 1 started in Spring 2015) which will be made public according to their individual public dates. Thus, as of June 19th, 2015, an additional 44 NuSTAR data sets have been publically released, bringing the grand total of public data sets to 1307.

NuSTAR data are most easily accessible via the usual HEASARC archive interfaces, i.e., Browse and Xamin, by querying the master table of NuSTAR data sets archived at the HEASARC, the NUMASTER table. Notice that NUMASTER contains all NuSTAR observations which have been processed and successfully validated by the NuSTAR Science Operation Center, and many of these data sets may not yet be public. Users should check the public_date parameter in NUMASTER in order to determine the public availability of observations. Proprietary data are indicated by having either a null value or a date in the future for the public_date parameter in the NUMASTER table. Users can query this table and download the data associated with the selected observation(s) using the usual Browse/Xamin procedures.

Expert users who already know the Observation IDs (ObsIDs) of the dataset(s) in which they are interested, can also directly access NuSTAR data via the HEASARC's ftp site. The public NuSTAR data are at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/nustar/data/obs/00/ in subdirectories 0, 1, 2, 3, etc., determined by the first digit of their ObsID: thus, the data for ObsID = 80001001002 are in the directory http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/nustar/data/obs/00/8/80001001002/.

There are some known 'issues' or unusual features for a number of the released datasets. Potentially problematical issues are indicated by the parameter issue_flag in the NUMASTER table having a value set to 1. The issue_flag may indicate a value of data_gap > 0, nupsdout > 0, solar_activity is not NULL, or use of a non-standard instrument setting. The specific nature of the issue affecting the observation will be indicated in one or more non-blank or non-zero values of the following parameters in NUMASTER: data_gap, nupsdout or solar_activity, or may be indicated in the comments field for the dataset. In addition, the coordinated parameter in NUMASTER lists observatories for which coordinated observations were made with the specified NuSTAR observation. The comments parameter in NUMASTER contains a brief text synopsis of the major known issues and unusual features.

It is expected that by the end of August 2015 the HEASARC Archive will have 'caught up' with the available NuSTAR data from the baseline mission phase. From then on, the data for a NuSTAR observation

(1) under the rubric of the NuSTAR Project should become public no more than 60 days after the completion of that observation. The exceptions to this rule are:

  • Observations coordinated with another observatory: these will be released at the end of the exclusive use period associated with the other observatory,
  • Observations for survey programs: these will be released 60 days after the survey program is completed,
  • Observations with significant quality issues whose release may be delayed until the NuSTAR SOC determines the impact on science analysis;

(2) as part of the NuSTAR Guest Observer Program should become public 12 months after their receipt by the proposal's Principal Investigator;

(3) as part of another mission's Guest Observer Program which could also award NuSTAR observing time should become public at the same time as the exclusive-use period for that other mission's data expires.

(4) as part of an unanticipated Target of Opportunity (ToO) or Directors Discretionary Time (DDT) observation should become public 6 months after their receipt by the proposal Principal Investigator. (ToO and DDT requests may be submitted through the NuSTAR SOC website).