INTEGRAL Latest News
INTEGRAL AO-16 General Programme approved
27 June 2017 The INTEGRAL AO-16 General Programme, as recommended by the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) and approved by ESA's Director of Science (Prof. Günther Hasinger), has been released and the observers have been informed.
Giorgio Palumbo: 1939 - 2018
INTEGRAL has lost another great Mission Scientist on 19 June 2018
26 June 2017 Giorgio Palumbo was born in 1939 in Turin, where he graduated in Physics. After obtaining a PhD at the University of Calgary (Canada), he was first researcher of the National Research Council, then became associate professor, and subsequently an ordinary professor, at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Bologna. He was director of the Department from 2006 to 2009.
He was certainly one of the main protagonists of high-energy astrophysics in the international scene. In his research, presented in over 300 articles on Physics and Astrophysics, he dealt with cosmic radiation, cosmic rays, supernovae, galaxies and groups of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, astrochemistry. He devoted a lot of his efforts to teaching (with numerous dozens of undergraduates and doctoral students) and to the dissemination of astronomy through conferences, writings and columns on the monthly and television programs of RAI Educational.
Selected on 31 May 1995 by the European Space Agency (ESA) as INTEGRAL Mission Scientist, he was one of the drivers of the scientific success of the mission, and to which he made a fundamental contribution for almost 20 years. In 2014 he resigned for family reasons.
In the early 2000s he was a member of the ESA Astronomy Working Group. He subsequently obtained numerous posts in advisory committees.
He collaborated for a long time with the Italian Space Agency, ASI, and in particular from 1997 to 2002 as coordinator of the activity connected to the Science of the Universe.
"We learn about the death of Giorgio Palumbo, a scientist and man of great culture, and an authoritative reference in our community" says Nichi D'Amico, president of INAF. "I had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing him during the years spent in Bologna and I want to remind everyone of one of his jokes. With his sly and affable air, he told me that it was enough for him to see how a young person moves, how s/he walks, to perceive their talent. It was true: Giorgio was a great breeder of talents and we owe him the growth of entire lines of research, authoritative and prestigious. To the family, friends and colleagues, a warm embrace".
See also a dedicated web page at INAF (in Italian).
Out-of-TAC public ToO observations of ASASSN-18fv and MAXI J1820+070
26 April 2018 On 20 March a new bright transient optical source, near the Galactic plane, was found at V<10 by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN; ATel #11454). These observations showed an outburst amplitude of more than 7 mag. About a day later it was already brighter than 6 mag (see, e.g., AAVSO Alert Notice 626). Earlier spectroscopy (ATel #11456) had not ruled out a Galactic nova, but the transient might also be a large outburst of a young stellar object. Recently, Fermi/LAT and AGILE detected prolonged gamma-ray emission above ~100 MeV (ATels #11546, #11553). If the source is indeed a classical nova, one may expect nucleosynthesis line emission from the decay of 7Be at 478 keV. If this is the case, it makes ASASSN-18fv a very interesting target for INTEGRAL. This could finally give positive results regarding nucleosynthesis lines in novae, one of the objectives of INTEGRAL, and also help to understand the origin of the 7Be in the Galaxy (stellar component).
In view of the very recent detection with Fermi and AGILE and the potential of detecting 7Be line emission, ISOC received a ToO trigger to observe ASASSN-18fv as soon as possible. Although a TAC-approved ToO proposal on a new classical nova exists (PI: Hernanz), the nature of the source is still not 100% clear and the distance was not known yet at the time of the trigger. In consultation with the TAC and IUG it was, therefore, decided to start an out-of-TAC observation as soon as possible after the ToO trigger was received, i.e., from 23 April. The source continues to be very bright one month after discovery (V~6.8 mag; see, e.g., light curve at AAVSO), and it was, therefore, observed with the OMC in Fast monitoring mode. This is one of the few observations using this observing mode. There is a GAIA counterpart of the pre-nova source (G~19.4 mag). At the day of GAIA DR2, 25 April, it was reported that the distance is at least 1.6 kpc (most likely 6.6 kpc). Observations continue under the out-of-TAC proposal and remain publicly available, until further notice.
We will keep monitoring the recently discovered new black-hole X-ray binary transient MAXI J1820+070, aka ASASSN-18ey. The source became bright (up to 4 Crab in X-rays); this triggered an accepted INTEGRAL ToO proposal (PI: Belloni). Because the source is still bright, INTEGRAL keeps monitoring the source every Revolution, under an unsolicited, out-of-TAC program, until further notice. As a service to the community, especially meant to help multi-wavelength data comparisons, the ISDC is providing ready-to-use scientific data products of all available observations of the source in the form of light curves in 1 energy band for JEM-X1 (3–25 keV) and 2 energy bands for IBIS/ISGRI (25–60 and 60–200 keV). See ATel #11490.
16TH ANNOUNCEMENT OF OPPORTUNITY (AO-16): PRELIMINARY STATISTICS
18 April 2018 The deadline for the submission of proposals for AO-16 open time observations was on 13 April 2018, and all proposals are in the ISOC database. Below are some preliminary statistics on the proposals that have been received.
Total number of proposals
The total number of proposals received is 62. The total observing time requested is about 112 Msec (for all types of observation, i.e., fixed time, normal time, and ToO). Here, 10% of the requested total ToO time has been taken into account. Given that up to about 21 Msec of observing time (for new observing proposals) will be available for the AO-16 observing programme (12 months duration starting on 1 January 2019), this corresponds to an oversubscription in time by a factor of 5.3.
The non-ToO proposals are requesting data rights for 422 sources in total. 23 proposals requested coordinated time with NuSTAR, Swift and/or XMM-Newton.
Proposals per category
In the following table we give the breakdown of number of proposals as a function of the proposal category. Note that the numbers on requested observing times do include ToO proposals, but it has been assumed here, that a typical ToO proposal requests about 10% of its total observing time as entered into PGT from all the candidate sources included in a ToO proposal.
|Scientific Category||Number of proposals||Requested observing time (Ms) |
includes ToO times x 10%
|Nucleosynthesis and diffuse |
End of May, the Time Allocation Committee will peer review all proposals and recommend the AO-16 observing programme to ESA.
INTEGRAL's operations indicatively extended up to end 2020
26 March 2018 Last week, ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved indicative extension for the operation of INTEGRAL by another year, i.e., until 31 December 2020. The decision will be subject to confirmation towards the end of 2018.
Donor Star breathes life into zombie companion
5 March 2018 INTEGRAL has witnessed a rare event: the moment that winds emitted by a swollen red giant star revived its slow-spinning companion, the core of a dead star, bringing it back to life in a flash of X-rays. The results have been published in Astronomy and Astrophysics. For more detail, please read the ESA Press Release.