Close-up View of NICER’s X-Ray Optics

Taking up the center of the photo is one of NICER’s X-ray concentrators which is formed from concentric cylindrical mirrors that look like a vinyl record with very deep grooves. On top of the concentrator is a metal structure with a hexagonal plate in the center that has thin bars extending from each of the six corners, looking like a spiderweb. This one concentrator is surrounded by five others, which are only partially seen. Along the top quarter of the image is a clear window that reflects rectangular light and has a series of small holds in a grid across the bottom edge. Some parts of the central concentrator and the one to the upper right of it are bathed in purple light.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Keith Gendreau
CreditNASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Keith Gendreau
Historical DateAugust 6, 2017
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In this photo, NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition ExplorR’s (NICER's) X-ray concentrator optics are inspected under a black light for dust and foreign object debris that could impair functionality once in space. The payload’s 56 mirror assemblies concentrate X-rays onto silicon detectors to gather data that will probe the interior makeup of neutron stars, including those that appear to flash regularly, called pulsars.