NuSTAR Proposals and Tools
While NuSTAR was initially approved by NASA as a 2-year Principal Investigator-led (PI-led) mission, NuSTAR has now been approved to continue operations through 2018 (subject to review by the 2016 NASA Astrophysics Senior Review of Operating Missions) and to have a dedicated Guest Observer (GO) Program. There are several opportunities for guest observers in the general scientific community to propose for NuSTAR observations.
NuSTAR Guest Observer Program
Additional opportunities to propose for NuSTAR time:
Starting in 2014, NuSTAR solicited guest observer proposals from the general scientific community. Proposals are solicited via NASA's ROSES grant solicitation process. The proposal process is divided into two phases. A Phase 1 proposal is submitted to NASA HEASARC's ARK system, containing detailed target selection forms and a concise science justification. Proposals may come from both US and non-US researchers. Phase 1 proposals are evaluated by peer review panels. 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.
NASA also provides grant funding to support certain selected proposals. These funds are limited to proposals with PIs at US institutions. Selected proposals will receive a notification letter with more details and an invitation to submit a Phase 2 (budget) proposal. Phase 2 proposals are submitted to NASA's NSPIRES system.
The NuSTAR project has developed tools and documentation to help potential proposers.
NuSTAR Observatory Guide: The NuSTAR team has developed a document which describes the technical capabilities, concept of operation and key information for proposers. Download the current version NuSTAR Observatory Guide (7.3 MB pdf file) (released June 2016).
Count Rate and Spectral Simulations: The standard HEASARC count rate and spectral simulations tools, WebPIMMS and WebSpec, are available for NuSTAR simulations. WebSpec was updated on March 5, 2014 to include the most recent NuSTAR responses and background files. The NuSTAR responses and background files can also be downloaded directly from the Caltech SOC web site and used to simulate spectra in spectral analysis software such as XSPEC. See Section 4.7 of the NuSTAR Observatory Guide for a detailed discussion of how to simulate NuSTAR spectra using XSPEC. If detailed background modeling is required, the "nuskybgd" NuSTAR background simulation toolkit is is available from the User-Contributed NuSTAR Software page.
Other issues which proposers should take under consideration are:
Guest Observer Program Summary and No-cost Extention
NuSTAR GOs receiving NASA grants are required to file a Summary of Research Report detailing their supported activities. The report instructions can be found here.
The information about No-cost extentions on a NASA grant can be found at https://answers.nssc.nasa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/5907. To request a No-Cost Extension, please complete the electronic form at: https://www.nssc.nasa.gov/nocostextension.
Additional opportunities to propose for NuSTAR time
A total of at most 500 ks of observing time will be made available to ToO proposals in the GO program. However, unsolicited ToO requests for exceptional transients will continue to be possible through the NuSTAR ToO web site, even for those not accepted into the GO Program. The decision on whether or not to observe a ToO of either category will be made by the NuSTAR Principal Investigator or her official designee. Such ToO requests are unfunded and do not have an exclusive-use period.
If you have any questions concerning NuSTAR or the NuSTAR GO program, visit the Feedback form.