NuSTAR celebrates first 100 days

Sep 21, 2012 by Whitney Clavin
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, celebrates 100 days in orbit on Sept. 21, 2012. The black-hole spying telescope was blasted into orbit around Earth's equator on June 13, 2012. The mission's goal is to measure high-energy X-ray light from the most extreme objects in the universe, including black holes, neutron stars and supernovae. A black hole is pictured in the middle of the "100" in this artist's concept. Black holes are incredibly dense object, with gravity strong enough to warp space and time. If you could fly up to a black hole for a closer look, you'd see distortions in the light around it as pictured here. Light near the center of the black hole cannot escape its gravity, and thus the black hole appears dark. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Phys.org)—Today, Sept. 21, 2012, marks 100 days since NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, launched into space from the L-1011 "Stargazer" aircraft. Since completing its 30-day checkout, the telescope has been busy making its first observations of black holes, super-dense dead stars and the glowing remains of exploded stars.

In this early mission phase, the team has been getting to know their telescope better and learning how to point it precisely at targets of interest. NuSTAR has the longest mast of any astronomical telescope ever launched. The 33-foot (10-meter) flexible structure is part of the mission's innovative design, allowing NuSTAR to focus high-energy X-rays into sharp images for the first time. The team has been spending time understanding the mast's mechanics and how they affect the telescope's pointing.

In addition, NuSTAR has continued to team up with other observatories, including NASA's Chandra and Swift telescopes, to make coordinated observations. These joint observations allow astronomers to interpret data from their telescopes more precisely, and to gain a better overall understanding of some of the most extreme events in the cosmos.

As its journey continues, NuSTAR will explore many more targets in our galaxy and beyond.

NuSTAR is a Small Explorer mission led by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Va. Its instrument was built by a consortium including Caltech; JPL; the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University, New York; NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; the Danish Technical University in Denmark; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.; and ATK Aerospace Systems, Goleta, Calif. NuSTAR's is at UC Berkeley, with the Italian Space Agency providing its equatorial ground station located at Malindi, Kenya. The mission's outreach program is based at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, Calif. NASA's Explorer Program is managed by Goddard. JPL is managed by Caltech for NASA.

Explore further: Italy's first female astronaut heads to ISS in Russian craft

More information: For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/nustar and www.nustar.caltech.edu/ .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NuSTAR arrives at island launch site

Jun 08, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, and its rocket flew above the palm trees to arrive at their launch location at the U.S. Army's Reagan test site at Kwajalein Atoll. Kwajalein, ...

NuSTAR strapped to its plane

Jun 05, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is now perched atop its Pegasus XL rocket, strapped to the plane that will carry the mission to an airborne launch. Launch is scheduled ...

NuSTAR spacecraft arrives in California

Jan 30, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, mission arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Friday morning after a cross-country trip by truck from the Orbital Sciences Corporation ...

Space telescope opens its X-ray eyes

Jun 29, 2012

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has snapped its first test images of the sizzling high-energy X-ray universe. The observatory, launched June 13, is the first space telescope with the ...

NuSTAR mated to its rocket

Feb 20, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is being mated, or attached, to its Pegasus XL rocket today at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.

Engineers tuck nuSTAR in its nose cone

Mar 05, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Technicians at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California are placing the two halves of the rocket nose cone, or fairing, around NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), ...

Recommended for you

Time in space exposes materials to the test of time

1 hour ago

Much like that pickup truck rusting in your backyard thanks to time, rain and the elements, extended stays in the brutal environment of space can take its toll on spacecraft, satellites and space stations. ...

Earth's orbit around the sun

3 hours ago

Ever since the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus demonstrated that the Earth revolved around in the Sun, scientists have worked tirelessly to understand the relationship in mathematical terms. If this ...

How can we search for life on icy moons such as Europa?

4 hours ago

Our solar system is host to a wealth of icy worlds that may have water beneath the surface. The Cassini spacecraft recently uncovered evidence of a possible ocean under the surface of Saturn's moon, Mimas.

CubeSat instruments to demonstrate NASA firsts

4 hours ago

The Dellingr six-unit CubeSat, which is taking its developers just one year to design, build and integrate, won't be the only potentially groundbreaking capability for NASA. Its heliophysics payloads also ...

Musk is testing x-wing style fins, spaceport drone ship

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Elon Musk over the weekend sent out a number of tweets about what's up at SpaceX in its rocket endeavors, talking about features that triggered a steady response stream of "Awesome," "Rad," ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.