Artwork • June 17, 2020
This illustration shows magnetic field lines protruding from a highly magnetic neutron star, or a dense nugget left over after a star goes supernova and explodes. Known as magnetars, these objects generate bright bursts of light that might be powered by their strong magnetic fields.
Artwork • May 22, 2020
Artists concept of a neutron star (the bright white star) surrounded by an accretion disk of material that it has stripped of its low-mass companion star (top left). This material shines in X-rays as it falls onto the neutron star during "outbursts" of extremely bright X-ray activity.
Observation • February 20, 2019
Bright green sources of high-energy X-ray light captured by NASA's NuSTAR mission are overlaid on an optical-light image of the Whirlpool galaxy (the spiral in the center of the image) and its companion galaxy, M51b (the bright greenish-white spot above the Whirlpool), taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Observation • July 3, 2018
The NuSTAR detection shows that shock waves in the wind collision zone accelerate charged particles like electrons and protons to near the speed of light. Some of these may reach Earth, where they will be detected as cosmic ray particles. X-rays scattered by debris ejected in Eta Carinae's famous 1840 eruption may produce the broader red emission.
Observation • July 28, 2016
The blue dots in this field of galaxies, known as the COSMOS field, show galaxies that contain supermassive black holes emitting high-energy X-rays. The black holes were detected by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Array, or NuSTAR, which spotted 32 such black holes in this field and has observed hundreds across the whole sky so far.
Artwork • July 12, 2016
This artist's impression depicts the accretion disc surrounding a black hole, in which the inner region of the disc precesses. "Precession" means that the orbit of material surrounding the black hole changes orientation around the central object.
Observation • December 17, 2015
Galaxy NGC 1068 is shown in visible light and X-rays in this composite image. High-energy X-rays (magenta) captured by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, are overlaid on visible-light images from both NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Collage • December 17, 2015
Galaxy NGC 1068 can be seen in close-up in this view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NuSTAR's high-energy X-rays eyes were able to obtain the best view yet into the hidden lair of the galaxy's central, supermassive black hole.
Artwork • October 27, 2015
This diagram shows how a shifting feature, called a corona, can create a flare of X-rays around a black hole. The corona (feature represented in purplish colors) gathers inward (left), becoming brighter, before shooting away from the black hole (middle and right). Astronomers don't know why the coronas shift, but they have learned that this process leads to a brightening of X-ray light that can be observed by telescopes.
Artwork • October 27, 2015
A supermassive black hole is depicted in this artist's concept, surrounded by a swirling disk of material falling into it. The purplish ball of light above the black hole, a feature called the corona, contains highly energetic particles that generate X-ray light. If you could really view the corona, it would be nearly invisible since we can't see its X-ray light.