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Meet NuSTAR!

Meet the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array or NuSTAR – a new X-ray telescope that’s being launched in March of 2012. Below is the actual telescope in its pre-launch configuration:

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Orbital

And here is what it will look like post-launch!

NuSTAR (artist conception)
Credit: NASA

NuSTAR has an interesting design that includes a deployable mast, which is used to extend the observatory to its full 10 meter focal length. Because this mast will flex slightly as the spacecraft orbits, NuSTAR employs a laser measurement system to monitor the degree of motion of the mirrors relative to the detectors.

NuSTAR will survey high-energy X-ray emission from black holes, help determine how chemical elements are cooked up in supernova explosions, and find new, previously unknown high energy sources. Gorgeous Chandra X-ray Observatory imagery has been done at relatively low X-ray energies – NuSTAR will extend the energy range of X-ray images by nearly a factor of 10, via breakthroughs in detector technology and X-ray optics.

You can read more at the HEASARC Picture of the Week and on the NuStar website. For education and outreach about NuSTAR, try the Caltech site.

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