This image comparison demonstrates NuSTAR's improved ability to focus high-energy X-ray light into sharp images. The image on the left, taken by the European Space Agency's INTEGRAL satellite, shows high-energy X-rays from galaxies beyond our own. The light is "unresolved," meaning that individual objects creating the light -- in particular, the active supermassive black holes -- cannot be distinguished.
The image on the right shows a simulated view of what NuSTAR will see at comparable wavelengths. NuSTAR will be able to identify individual black holes making up the diffuse X-ray glow, also called the X-ray background. The observatory will have 100 times better sensitivity than its predecessors, and 10 times sharper resolution. It will probe deeper into the mysterious regions surrounding black holes, and will discover never-before-seen black holes enshrouded in dust.