INTEGRAL Latest News


Happy Birthday – INTEGRAL celebrates 15 successful years in orbit

17 October 2017 Fifteen years ago, on 17 October 2002 at 6:41 GMT, the European Space Agency's INTEGRAL observatory was launched.

From rare breeds of high-energy stars to the feeding habits of monster black holes and the annihilation of antimatter, the mission has been uncovering the secrets of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. And since it is never too late to try something new, in recent times INTEGRAL has begun to play a crucial role in new fields of astrophysics, like follow-up of high-energy neutrinos, or especially exciting: the study of gravitational wave sources.

INTEGRAL sees blast travelling with gravitational waves

16 October 2017 INTEGRAL played a crucial role in discovering the flash of gamma rays linked to the gravitational waves released by the collision of two neutron stars. On 17 August, INTEGRAL, as well as NASA's Fermi satellite recorded a short Gamma-Ray Burst. Such bursts are not uncommon, but this one was preceded a few seconds earlier by a gravitational wave signal!

The detection, most probably the tell-tale-sign of a neutron star merger, led to an intense follow-up campaign by a large number of ground and space telescopes. First results have been made public in press conferences all around the world and scientific papers published in a special issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. For more detail, please read the ESA Press Release.

Target-of-Opportunity observations of MAXI J1535-571

8 September 2017 INTEGRAL started a public Target-of-Opportunity observation today, in Revolution 1860, of the recently detected candidate black-hole X-ray binary MAXI J1535-571. This source has also triggered an accepted monitoring program proposal (PI: Belloni). First observations are scheduled in Revolution 1861. Data will be also public.

Strongest flare in a decade from the Sun affects INTEGRAL

7 September 2017 The strongest Solar flare in a decade was released from the Sun yesterday, and made its impact on Earth and its surroundings. The X9.3 flare caused the OMC and JEM-X to go into safe Mode on 6 September 14:03 and 7 September 02:17 UTC, respectively.

Update 8 September 2017 JEM-X and OMC have been activated again today, around 12:21 UTC.

INTEGRAL TOO observations of 4U 1543-624

17 August 2017 The candidate ultra-compact neutron-star binary 4U 1543-624 is currently showing an unusual rise in the hard-X-ray flux. INTEGRAL ToO observations have been requested and observations are planned for Revolution 1853 (2017-08-21 16:34:47 to 2017-08-22 06:45:46). The data will be publicly available.

Coordinated observations of GX 301–2 and Her X-1

28 July 2017 INTEGRAL will perform observations coordinated with the Chinese space mission Insight-HXMT of GX 301–2 and Her X-1, respectively. The observations are scheduled in Revolutions 1846 and 1847. The INTEGRAL data from both observations is public.

Coordinated calibration observations of 3C273

26 June 2017 INTEGRAL is performing a coordinated IACHEC calibration observation on 3C273, together with Chandra, NICER, NuSTAR, Swift and XMM-Newton. The INTEGRAL data in Revolution 1832 is public.

INTEGRAL AO-15 General Programme approved

8 June 2017 The INTEGRAL AO-15 General Programme, as recommended by the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) and approved by ESA's Director of Science (Prof. Alvaro Giméz), has been released and the observers have been informed.

IBIS/VETO correctly recovered

13 April 2017 Since yesterday UT 17:58, at the start of Revolution 1804, the VETO system of IBIS is running in the correct configuration again. Users are advised to take care of any IBIS data reduction in Revolutions 1802 and 1803.


12 April 2017 The on-board problem with the VETO system of IBIS still continues. In summary:  Revolutions 1802 and 1803 up to ScW 39 have no usable IBIS data. From Revolution 1803 ScW 40 to 65, there is about 70% of IBIS data usable. Starting from ScW 66 of Revolution 1803, there are again no more usable IBIS data due to the VETO rejection.


11 April 2017 The deadline for the submission of proposals for AO-15 open time observations was on 31 March 2017, 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 65. The total observing time requested is about 88 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-15 observing programme (12 months duration starting on 1 January 2018), this corresponds to an oversubscription in time by a factor of 4.2.

The non-ToO proposals are requesting data rights for 341 sources in total. 20 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%
Galactic Astronomy 39 56
Extragalactic Astronomy 16 15
Nucleosynthesis and diffuse
continuum/line emission
10 17
Total 65 88


In mid May, the Time Allocation Committee will peer review all proposals and recommend the AO-15 observing programme to ESA.

IBIS/VETO malfunction

10 April 2017 Due to an on-board problem with the VETO system of IBIS, most of the IBIS/ISGRI data obtained during Revolution 1802 and beginning of 1803 are lost. 

Update 11 April Unfortunately, during the restart yesterday the wrong (i.e., default) context table was uploaded, and so the IBIS Veto system is still not in the right configuration. Although the IBIS/ISGRI data are usable, it does make the data analysis non-standard. Work is underway to restore the right configuration.


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