INTEGRAL News archive for 2023



Blast from the past: gamma-ray burst strikes Earth from distant exploding star

15 November 2023 An enormous burst of gamma rays, detected by ESA's Integral space telescope, has struck Earth. The blast caused a significant disturbance in our planet's ionosphere. Such disturbances are usually associated with energetic particle events on the Sun but this one was the result of an exploding star almost two billion light-years away. Analysing the effects of the blast could provide information about the mass extinctions in Earth's history. Read more about it here:


Happy 21st birthday, INTEGRAL!

17 October 2023 On 17 October 2002 INTEGRAL was launched into space! That means ESA's most sensitive gamma-ray observatory to date is 21 years old and still operating today! Happy Launch Anniversary Day!

Furthermore, the final call for proposals for INTEGRAL concluded successfully on September 29th. Details can be found in the dedicated newsletter.

INTEGRAL's final call for Guest Observing time, AO-21, is open

4 September 2023 Today, the ESA Director of Science (Prof. Carole Mundell) released the 21st Announcement of Opportunity (AO-21) for observing proposals with INTEGRAL.

This announcement solicits proposals for observations to be carried out from January 2024. 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 29 September 2023, 14:00 CEST.

This is the last AO for INTEGRAL and therefore the last chance to benefit from this special observatory and its unique capabilities. New INTEGRAL proposers are welcome, and some information especially targeting newcomers can be found in this 7-page brochure INTEGRAL's final AO: Capabilities and Science Highlights.

More information can be found on the AO-21 page.

Last ToO observations during August 2023

30 August 2023

Swift J1727.8-1613: Initially designated as GRB230824A (GCN#34536, GCN#34537, ATel#16205, and Atel#16206), it has been promptly monitored in a multiwavelength campaign and confirmed, via optical observations (ATel#16208), to be a low mass X-ray binary hosting a black hole candidate. The X-ray flaring behaviour (ATel#16207) was already compared to that of V404 Cyg by the NiCER team. INTEGRAL has started monitoring this unique event that is reaching levels above 7 Crab in Swift/BAT. Details of the multiwavelength campaign on this target can be checked at SMARTNet.

4U 1630-47: It is a low mass x-ray binary with a black hole companion and has been active already for a year (ATel #15575, ATel #15924, ATel #15988). It started to flare on August 2023, with a SWIFT/BAT flux in the range 0.1-0.4 Crab and it was detected by INTEGRAL on 13th August above 200 keV. We have been observing the target since 26th August with the goal to better characterize its state transitions and its behaviour above 200 keV.

TOMASO BELLONI † (1961-2023)

29 August 2023 We regret to hear that Prof. Tomaso Belloni (INAF-Osservatorio di Brera), passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, 26 August. He has been a great addition to the INTEGRAL Project, by serving in the INTEGRAL Users Group (2007-2010) and in the INTEGRAL Time Allocation Committee, as well as being a frequent user of INTEGRAL time. His contributions to X-ray astronomy, especially to his niche of (black-hole) X-ray binaries, are of greatest importance. He will be therefore thoroughly missed. May he rest in peace.



INTEGRAL Newsletter #30 is out

18 August 2023 In this issue:

  • Handing over to a new INTEGRAL Project Scientist

Read the newsletter here


20 July 2023 FRB 20220912A is a repeating Fast Radio Burst (FRB) discovered by CHIME in in the P-band (400-800 MHz) on September 2022. The source displayed extreme activiy in radio (1.4 GHz) between October and December 2022. Thanks to this activity, the source position could be determined with high precision, and its host galaxy identified as a nearby (z=0.0771) massive galaxy.

Renewed activity from the source has been detected in June/July 2023. INTEGRAL will observe the source in revolutions 2665&2666 in coordination with other radio and X-ray facilities. The potential detection of a high energy counterpart to the radio emission, would put constraints in the various models aiming to explan FRBs.


11 July 2023 The Ultra-luminous X-ray Source (ULX) Swift J0243.6+6124 is again in outburst, with luminosities of ~1Crab, as seen by MAXI GSC, (ATel #15983); Swift/XRT, (ATel #15984); NICER, (ATel #15987). Swift J0243.6+6124 is the first, and so far only known ULX in our Galaxy. It was first detected in 2017 when it experienced a superoutburst which lasted ~200 days and reached super-Eddington luminosites.

INTEGRAL will monitor the current activity phase on a revolution basis, starting on rev. 2662, to characterise its high energy emission and complement the data obtained at other wavelengths.

INTEGRAL Newsletter #29 is out

28 April 2023 In this issue:

  • A021 Milestones
  • Brightest GRB ever
  • INTEGRAL Safe Mode
  • INTEGRAL User Group

Read the newsletter here

Science Operations Scientist in High-Energy Astronomy

13 March 2023 Job Opening:

The European Space Agency has now published the vacancy in the Directorate of Science for a position assigned jointly to the XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL missions, deadline 03 April 2023:

INTEGRAL Newsletter #28 is out

09 March 2023 In this issue:

  • SPC decision on mission extensions
  • AO-21 preparations
  • Next IUG Meeting
  • ESA Archival Research Visitor Programme
  • COSI Challenge

Read the newsletter here

INTEGRAL operations extended

08 March 2023 INTEGRAL science operations are extended until 31 December 2024, enabling support of the fourth international campaign of joint observations of gravitational waves by the network of instruments LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA. This will be followed by two years of post-operations and monitoring of the spacecraft until re-entry in February 2029.

The decision was taken during the SPC meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, on 7 March. More info here.

INTEGRAL Newsletter #27 is out

07 March 2023 In this issue:

  • High-Energy scientist job announcement: Now open [here]. Closing date 03. April 2023
  • New Safe Mode developed and activated
  • INTEGRAL Conference 2022 presentations availability

Read the newsletter here