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Many of NICER’s 56 X-ray “concentrators” seen from within the instrument optical bench. Light reflected from the gold surfaces of the 24 concentric foils in each concentrator is focused onto detectors slightly more than 1 meter (3.5 feet) away. Credit: Credit: NASA/Goddard/ Keith Gendreau

#PulsarWeek: NICER Ask Me Anything! – Part 2

  • By Barb Mattson
  • August 16, 2017
  • Comments Off on #PulsarWeek: NICER Ask Me Anything! – Part 2

On August 7, 2017, as the grande finale to #PulsarWeek, members of the recently-launched Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission team sat down for an hour to answer questions about the mission, pulsars, space navigation, and even more off-the-wall topics in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) event. We’ve … Continue Reading →


millisecond pulsar visualizaiton

RXTE’s Greatest Pulsar Hits

A pulsar is the crushed core of an exploded star, a rapidly spinning cinder that repeatedly swings a beam of light in our direction. Check out the post “Lighthouses in Space” for more about what pulsars are, how they work and why we study them. On the eve of the … Continue Reading →


Tod Strohmayer with NICER sample telescope

NICER and Neutron Stars: 5 Questions with Dr. Tod Strohmayer

  • By Barb Mattson
  • June 1, 2017
  • Comments Off on NICER and Neutron Stars: 5 Questions with Dr. Tod Strohmayer

As we’re gearing up for the launch of NICER, we wanted to give our readers a behind-the-scenes look at the mission, its science, and the people who are making it happen. NICER is NASA’s first mission designed specifically for the study of neutron stars, so we are kicking things off … Continue Reading →


General Relativity Timeline

Testing General Relativity

Everyone seems to want to take shot at discrediting Einstein and his theories. I used to volunteer to answer questions for an Ask an Astrophysicist service, and nearly every week I would get a question or two that started with, “I have a new theory…” And at least half of … Continue Reading →


Spacetime Curvature

100 Years of General Relativity

  • By Barb Mattson
  • November 25, 2015
  • Comments Off on 100 Years of General Relativity

This week is the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. On November 25, 1915, Einstein published the field equations of gravity which are the heart of the general relativity. Sure, you’ve heard of Einstein – he was a smart guy. And you’ve probably heard of general relativity, but … Continue Reading →


GRB all-sky map

Back to School with GRB 101

Up until a few years ago, gamma-ray bursts (or GRBs, for short) were arguably the biggest mystery in high-energy astronomy. Basically, gamma-ray bursts are brief, extremely bright bursts of gamma-rays (as the name implies). They appeared at random across the sky. But what are they? What causes that burst? And … Continue Reading →


Cosmic Times

Try It At Home: Cosmic Times

  • By Barb Mattson
  • February 22, 2012
  • Comments Off on Try It At Home: Cosmic Times

Extra! Extra! Read All About the Universe! The Universe is expanding faster and faster and faster! But, how do we know that? Our current knowledge of the Universe is built upon a foundation of research done by previous generations of scientists. Sometimes it seems that science moves slowly, but when … Continue Reading →


Contest: NASA Bandz - check out our winners!

Contest: NASA Bandz – check out our winners!

Last week, we joined forces with some other NASA social media folks and gave our followers the opportunity to win some rare “NASA Bandz” that we just got our hands on. Apparently they were a hot giveaway item at the recent American Astronomical Society meeting – I guess you’re never … Continue Reading →


Contest: NASA Bandz - check out our winners!

Contest: 5 days, 5 ways to win NASA Bandz!

If you haven’t seen the shaped-rubber-band craze, then you either: 1) live in a cave, 2) don’t have kids, or 3) haven’t seen a kid in the past year.  As it turns out, our Division has obtained some NASA Bandz to commemorate some of the missions within NASA’s Physics of … Continue Reading →


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Goddard