Author(s): Keith C Gendreau1
Institution(s): 1. NASA
The Neutron Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) was launched in June 2017 to the International Space Station (ISS) where it is studying the time-domain X-ray sky. NICER consists of a collection of X-ray concentrators, silicon drift detectors, an optical bench, and pointing system that together provide a large collection area in the soft (0.2-12 keV) X-ray bandpass. NICER time-stamps individual X-ray photons to an absolute precision of better than 100 nanoseconds while providing moderate CCD-like energy resolution. Since installation, NICER has observed over 100 celestial targets including neutron stars and other objects. The NICER team accepts target of opportunity (TOO) requests for consideration. In addition, NICER will be demonstrating the use of some millisecond pulsars as navigational beacons. NICER will complete its baseline mission in January 2019 with data beginning to be made public in January 2018. Conditional on the status of its baseline science objectives, NICER will be open to a guest observer program with first round proposals due in mid 2018 for observations beginning in 2019.