NuSTAR Bringing the High Energy Universe into Focus


X-ray Flare at the Center of the Milky Way


NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured these first, focused views of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy in high-energy X-ray light. This is the location of our Milky Way's humongous black hole, called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short. NuSTAR is the first telescope to be able to focus high-energy X-rays, giving astronomers a new tool for probing extreme objects such as black holes.

This time series shows a flare caught by NuSTAR over an observing period of two days in July 2012; the middle panel shows the peak of the flare, when the black hole was consuming and heating matter to temperatures up to 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (100 million degrees Celsius).

The images show light with energies of 3 to 30 keV.