Dead Star and Distant Black Holes Dazzle in X-Rays

Two new views from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, showcase the telescope’s talent for spying objects near and far. One image shows the energized remains of a dead star, a structure nicknamed the “Hand of God” after its resemblance to a hand (above). Another image shows distant black holes buried in blankets of dust.

“NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light,” said Fiona Harrison, the mission’s principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

NuSTAR launched into space in June 2012 on a mission to explore the high-energy X-ray universe. It is observing black holes, dead and exploded stars and other extreme objects in the Milky Way galaxy and beyond.

NuSTAR’s telescope was built by a consortium including NASA; the California Institute of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University, New York; the Danish Technical University in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, and with support from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Science Data Center in Rome.

NuSTAR’s mission operations center is at UC Berkeley, with ASI providing its equatorial ground station located in Malindi, Kenya.

For more on the new images, see this NASA press release.

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