Media Relations Specialist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
News Release • March 26, 2021
Astronomers are investigating the mystery of the “soft excess” of low-energy X-ray emission often seen from accreting supermassive black holes. This enigmatic component can carry a large fraction of the X-ray flux, but is poorly understood. Multiple theories have been suggested. Simultaneous observations with NuSTAR (at high energy X-rays) and XMM-Newton (at low-energy X-rays) provide a powerful combination to investigate its origin.
News Release • March 12, 2021
A serendipitous X-ray flare detected by NASA’s Swift observatory is likely associated with a supermassive black hole at the core of a distant galaxy shredding a star that wandered too close.
News Release • September 15, 2020
X-ray observations of a young massive star in a close orbit with the compact remnant of a collapsed star by NASA’s NuSTAR and ESA’S XMM-Newton satellites reveal properties of extreme stellar winds and improve our understanding of how stars evolve.
News Release • July 29, 2020
NASA’s NuSTAR satellite has observed the faintest growing supermassive black holes in our cosmic backyard, and found that some of them are actually luminous “monsters” hiding behind thick clouds of dust and gas.
News Release • June 17, 2020
Astronomers tend to have a slightly different sense of time than the rest of us. They regularly study events that happened millions or billions of years ago, and objects that have been around for just as long. That's partly why the recently discovered neutron star known as Swift J1818.0-1607 is remarkable: A new study in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters estimates that it is only about 240 years old - a veritable newborn by cosmic standards.
News Release • May 15, 2020
Astronomers are observing the changes in the accretion disk around the neutron star X-ray binary 4U 1608-52. The system was tracked as it fades from outburst to quiescence by three NASA space telescopes, with NuSTAR observations suggesting that the disk puffs up and becomes transparent as the outburst fades.
News Release • April 10, 2019
A black hole and its shadow have been captured in an image for the first time, a historic feat by an international network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). EHT is an international collaboration whose support in the U.S. includes the National Science Foundation.
News Release • February 20, 2019
In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using observations from NASA's NuSTAR mission shows that a much smaller object is competing with the two behemoths.
News Release • January 10, 2019
A brief and unusual flash spotted in the night sky on June 16, 2018, puzzled astronomers and astrophysicists across the globe. The event - called AT2018cow and nicknamed "the Cow" after the coincidental final letters in its official name - is unlike any celestial outburst ever seen before, prompting multiple theories about its source.
News Release • July 3, 2018
A new study using data from NASA's NuSTAR space telescope suggests that Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years of Earth, is accelerating particles to high energies - some of which may reach our planet as cosmic rays.
News Release • October 30, 2017
Black holes are famous for being ravenous eaters, but they do not eat everything that falls toward them. A small portion of material gets shot back out in powerful jets of hot gas, called plasma, that can wreak havoc on their surroundings. Along the way, this plasma somehow gets energized enough to strongly radiate light, forming two bright columns along the black hole's axis of rotation. Scientists have long debated where and how this happens in the jet.
News Release • May 9, 2017
Black holes get a bad rap in popular culture for swallowing everything in their environments. In reality, stars, gas and dust can orbit black holes for long periods of time, until a major disruption pushes the material in.