INTEGRAL Latest News



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%
Galactic Astronomy 32 50
Extragalactic Astronomy 18 16
Nucleosynthesis and diffuse
continuum/line emission
12 46
Total 62 112

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.



5 March 2018 Today, the Director of Science (Prof. Guenther Hasinger) has released the 16th Announcement of Opportunity (AO-16) for observing proposals with INTEGRAL.

This announcement solicits proposals for observations to be carried out from January 2019 for a period of 12 months. Proposers from all over the world are welcome to participate. All proposals will be subject to an independent peer review by the INTEGRAL Time Allocation Committee (TAC). The deadline for proposal submission is Friday 13 April 2018, 14:00 CEST.

We would like to draw your attention to the following points:

  • ESA provides the opportunity to propose for coordinated observations with XMM-Newton, NASA's NuSTAR telescope and/or NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory with a total of 300 ks, 100 ks and 150 ks, respectively, of their available time.  Note that through an agreement with ESA, the Fermi project of NASA offers the possibility to obtain observing time with INTEGRAL through a single proposal to NASA via the Fermi AO.
  • Following a recommendation by the IUG, the time for execution of TOO observations has been increased from 2 to 3 Ms.  This is allocated for long-term planning before the start of the AO.  More time may be allocated to TOO observations during the execution of the AO if justified on the basis of scientific merit. 
  • The INTEGRAL Project has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the LIGO/Virgo consortium and IceCube Collaboration, and Letters of Intent (LoIs) with the deep-sea neutrino telescope ANTARES and the SUPERB Project to participate in follow-up campaigns of gravitational wave signals, ultra high energy neutrino events, and fast radio bursts.  It is important to note that it is not possible to propose for time bound by these MoUs/LoIs.
  • It is possible to submit Key Programme proposals with observations spanning two AO cycles.
  • The rectangular dithering on a 5x5 grid is the standard observation pattern.  In a few cases a hexagonal pattern is allowed.  Observations with custom patterns are strongly discouraged.  They will be considered only for A-grade proposals, and their scheduling will be on best-effort basis.
  • Data or science rights to the targets or science in the field of view (FOV) of the instruments will be allocated to PIs of accepted proposals with a 1-year proprietary period.  If the PI is from a country other than the Russian Federation, the rest of the field will be made public immediately.  Proposals where the PI is from the Russian Federation follow a similar kind of policy, except that the rest of the field will be made public only through the consolidated data programme.  The Russian Federation scientists currently working at Russian Federation scientific institutes still have exceptional access to the near-real time data of the rest of the field.

More information can be found on the AO-16 page.

ISOC AO-15 observations underway and preparations for AO-16

11 January 2018 ISOC wishes you a healthy and successful 2018. The AO-15 cycle of observations started on January 1st and will last 12 months, see the INTEGRAL target lists and sky maps for details as well as the Long-Term Plan.

ISOC is preparing the next call for proposals requesting INTEGRAL observing time. The AO-16 release will be already on 5 March, with a deadline on 13 April 2018. The AO-16 cycle of observations is foreseen to begin on 1 January 2019 and has the usual duration of 12 months.

Release of AO-16: call for observing time proposals: 5 March 2018
Deadline for submission of observing time proposals: 13 April 2018 (14:00 CEST)
Meeting of the Time Allocation Committee: 29-31 May 2018
Start of AO-16 cycle of observations: 1 January 2019

Green light for continued operations

7 December 2017 ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) has approved indicative extensions, up to 2019-2020, for the operation of eight scientific missions, including INTEGRAL. This followed a comprehensive review of the current operational status and outlook of the missions and their expected scientific returns during the extension period. The SPC extended the operations of INTEGRAL by one year, until 31 December 2019. A proposal to extend INTEGRAL until the end of 2020 will be presented to the next meeting of the SPC in February 2018. The decision will be subject to confirmation towards the end of 2018.

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.

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