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INTEGRAL News archive for 2013




10th INTEGRAL Workshop - A Synergistic View of the High-Energy Sky

21 December 2013 The 10th INTEGRAL Workshop, `A Synergistic View of the High-Energy Sky', will be held in Annapolis, MD, USA from 15 to 19 September 2014. The goal of this workshop is to present and discuss (via invited and contributed talks and posters) the latest results obtained in the field of high-energy astrophysics using INTEGRAL, and place these results in the context of other operational space-based missions, such as Swift, Fermi, AGILE, NuSTAR, Suzaku and MAXI, as well as ground-based VHE observatories. Correlative studies in lower energy bands, as well as neutrino- and gravitational wave observations are included as relevant for various source classes. The central focus of thus workshop is the synergistic view of the high-energy sky. See the workshop website for further information.


INTEGRAL Target of Opportunity observation on Nova Cen 2013

20 December 2013 The recently found classical nova V1369 Centauri = Nova Cen 2013 (IAUC #9265) has been detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (see ATel #5649). This has triggered a ToO observation (PI: den Hartog); INTEGRAL will observe Nova Cen 2013 between UT Dec 26 09:21 and Dec 28 13:00.


AO-11 Long-Term Plan published on the web

17 December 2013 The AO-11 INTEGRAL Long Term Plan (LTP), providing the best long-term information currently available for the coming cycle of AO-11 observations (January 1 to December 31, 2014) has been published on the ISOC website. When scheduling, ISOC intends to follow the LTP as closely as possible. We advise observers to check the LTP regularly.


AO-11 Data Rights Proposals approved

3 December 2013 The ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, Prof. Alvaro Giménez, has approved the recommendation of the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) for proposals to obtain data rights for targets within approved AO-11 observations. The proposers have been informed about the TAC decision and about the detailed data rights obtained. An overview of successful AO-11 data rights proposals can be found here.


Debris from stellar explosions in the Galaxy's fast lane

19 November 2013 Astronomers looking at the radioactive afterglow of supernovae with ESA's INTEGRAL mission have revealed that the remains of stellar explosions move through the Milky Way much faster, on average, than stars and most of the Galaxy's gas. This stellar debris is most likely ejected by winds and supernova explosions in large groups of massive stars located primarily on the leading edges of the Galaxy's spiral arms.

Full story on the ESA Science & Technology pages.


AO-11 Data Right Proposals - results

7 October 2013  During the call for Data Right Proposals (deadline 4 October 2013) the ISOC system received 31 valid proposals, requesting data rights to 109 fields and for 488 targets in total (every data right proposal can request observational data from multiple fields, defined in observing proposals, and multiple sources in each field). The large majority of requests was for Galactic Astronomy.

The Time Allocation Committee will decide on the proposals by November 2013.

Category Number of proposals Number of subscriptions Number of sources requested %
(# of proposals)
Galactic Astronomy 24 88 405 77.4
Extragalactic Astronomy 6 8 21 19.4
Nucleosynthesis and diffuse
continuum/line emission
1 13 62 3.2
Total 31 109 488 100


INTEGRAL AO-11 Call for Data Right Proposals is open!

09 September 2013 Today, the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration (Prof. Alvaro Giménez-Cañete) has released the 11th Announcement of Opportunity for data right proposals with INTEGRAL.

This announcement solicits proposals for obtaining data rights to targets within AO-11 observations to be carried out from January 2014 onwards. 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 proposals submission is Friday 4 October 2013, 14:00 CEST (12:00 GMT).

As you may be aware an indicative extension of science operations for INTEGRAL until 31 December 2016, subject to a mid-term review in Fall 2014, has been approved earlier this year.

However, the ESA budget for the 5-year period finishing at the end of 2017 will be lower than in previous years and - therefore - a number of cost savings options will be implemented in order to safeguard future science operations for INTEGRAL. See also the INTEGRAL news item from 20 June 2013.

In particular, and in order to simplify the AO structure, ESA will revert to a single, annual AO for observing proposals. Therefore, this AO-11 call for data rights proposals will be the last one of its kind. From 2014 onwards, AO's for INTEGRAL observing proposals only will be issued.

More information can be found on the AO-11 Data Right Proposals page.

INTEGRAL Project Scientist

01 September 2013 Chris Winkler, INTEGRAL Project Scientist since 1993, will retire from ESA at the end of this year. Erik Kuulkers has been appointed INTEGRAL Project Scientist as of 1 September 2013.

INTEGRAL workshop proceedings published

18 July 2013   The proceedings of the 9th INTEGRAL workshop "An INTEGRAL view of the high-energy sky", Paris, 15-19 October 2012, have been published today.   

INTEGRAL observes Mkn 501 in outburst

12 July 2013  Mkn 501 is displaying very strong flaring activity, which has been detected by Swift/XRT in soft X-rays and by MAGIC in gamma-rays. The data suggest that Mkn 501 is currently in its brightest Swift/XRT recorded state. Therefore, INTEGRAL ToO observations of this extraordinary event have been proposed by Dr. E. Pian, and accepted by the INTEGRAL Project Scientist. Mkn 501 will be observed for 200 ks distributed in revolutions 1312, and 1313. For more information, please consult our scheduling webpages.

INTEGRAL science operations extended until 31 December 2016

20 June 2013   During a meeting on 18 & 19 June 2013, the Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved the indicative extension of science operations for INTEGRAL until 31 December 2016, subject to a mid-term review in Fall 2014.

This is excellent news for INTEGRAL and the science community. Many thanks to all who helped and contributed to achieve this outstanding result!

However, the ESA budget for the 5-year period finishing at the end of 2017 will be lower than in previous years. Therefore, a number of cost savings options will be implemented in order to safeguard future science operations for INTEGRAL, and a few of those options will directly affect the science return of the mission, as detailed below:

From 2013 on:
    •    No scientific observations (with IBIS, JEM-X, OMC) during periods of SPI annealing (about 12 revolutions, or ~ 2.5 Ms, per year).
    •    Conservative margins for radiation-belt-passages (instruments switch-off).
    •    Reduction of ToO support by increasing the reaction time to ToO notifications to several days.
    •    No on-call support for ToO notifications and ToO implementations on weekends.
From 2014 on (additional to the above):
    •    Freeze INTEGRAL archive development at ESAC.
    •    Reduced support for special observations (e.g. observations with customized dither patterns or scans).
    •    Simplify the AO structure, and revert to a single, annual AO for observing proposals.
From 2015 on (additional to the above):
    •    Reduced INTEGRAL SOC software support.
    •    Further reduction of observing support.

Other savings will be implemented, which will reduce the capacity to deal with (rare) anomalies, including: reduction of ESOC manpower and elimination of industrial support.

More information:

Christoph Winkler
INTEGRAL Project Scientist

INTEGRAL AO-11 General Programme approved

14 June 2013  The INTEGRAL AO-11 General Programme, as recommended by the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) and approved on June 3 by the ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration (Prof. Alvaro Giménez), has been released and the observers have been informed.

Major network upgrade at ESAC

24 May 2013  Due to a major upgrade of the ESAC computing network, the INTEGRAL web pages and e-mail services (including TOO capabilities) will be unavailable from today, Friday, May 24th, 16.30 until Sunday, May 26th, 22.00. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Solar flares are affecting INTEGRAL operations

22 May 2013  Recent Solar activity is affecting the operations of INTEGRAL. Last week, during the period May 15-17, the OMC was forced to go to safe mode at several occasions. Today, stronger activity occurred, which forced OMC, JEM-X and IBIS to go into safe mode (at UT 14:39, 14:44 and 15:15, respectively).

Update (24 May 2013): Radiation levels are falling down again. IBIS science operations were resumed at UT 00:24 on 24 May 2013. Note that SPI operations are still unaffected.

Update (27 May 2013): Over the weekend, the radiation levels have fallen to a nominal level. All 4 instruments were activated post perigee on 25 May 2013.

11th Announcement of Opportunity (AO-11): preliminary statistics

23 April 2013  The deadline for the submission of proposals for AO-11 open time observations was on 12 April 2013, 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 55. The total observing time requested is about 62 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 24 Msec of observing time (for new observing proposals) will be available for the AO-11 observing programme (12 months duration starting on 1 January 2014), this corresponds to an oversubscription in time by a factor of 2.6.

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 38 39.8
Extragalactic Astronomy 11 14.9
Nucleosynthesis and diffuse
continnum/line emission
6  7.6
Total 55 62.4

 The Time Allocation Committee will peer review end May all proposals and will recommend the AO-11 observing programme to ESA. 

A second Call within this AO-11 will be released on 9 September, inviting proposals on individual point sources or selected sky areas (for diffuse emission studies) to be associated as "data-right proposals" with the selected observations, excluding ToO observations. The deadline for submission of data rights proposal will be 4 October 2013.

Christoph Winkler
INTEGRAL Project Scientist
23 April 2013

INTEGRAL continues observing Mkn 421

17 April 2013  Mrk 421 will continue to be observed in revolution 1284 since it is still bright in both the JEM-X and ISGRI instruments. 

Two ToOs in a row!

15 April 2013  Mrk 421 recently exhibited an extremely bright flaring in high energies detected by NuSTAR (ATel #4974), MAGIC and VERITAS (ATel #4976), Fermi-LAT and Swift-XRT (ATel #4977) and MAXI (ATel #4978). INTEGRAL ToO observations of this extraordinary event were requested by Dr. E. Pian. In less than a few hours, ISOC evaluated and planned the requested observations, to start as soon as the on-going ToO observations of the ms pulsar IGR J18245-2452 are completed. INTEGRAL we will observe Mkn 421 for ~200 ks in revolution 1283. Further observations might be planned depending on the source evolution. Stay tuned and watch our news there!

ToO observations of IGR J18245-2452

11 April 2013  INTEGRAL will perform Target of Opportunity observations on the recently discovered X-ray transient IGR J18245-2452 (ATel #4925 , #4927 , #4929 , #4934 , #4959 , #4960).

The observations will start on 2013-04-13 03:56:15 (Rev. 1282) and will last 210 ksec. Please consult the INTEGRAL scheduling pages for more information.

XMM-Newton will be observing the source simultaneously during 70 ksec, starting on 2013-04-13 06:08:15 (Rev. 2444). More details can be found in the XMM-Newton schedulling pages.

INTEGRAL AO-11 Call for Observing Proposals is open!

4 March 2013  Today, the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration (Prof. Alvaro Giménez) has released the 11th Announcement of Opportunity for observing proposals with INTEGRAL. 

This announcement solicits proposals for observations to be carried out from January 2014 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 Proposals submission is Friday 12 April 2012, 14:00 CEST.

Observing proposals selected for AO-11 will subsequently be open for so-called "data right proposals" via a second Call for Proposals. These associated proposals allow the possibility to obtain data rights on point-like, extended sources or emission features contained in the field of view of accepted observing proposals. 

More information can be found on the AO-11 page.

Proceedings of the INTEGRAL workshop on-line

26 February 2013 The first set of accepted papers of the workshop proceedings "An INTEGRAL view of the high energy sky (the first 10 years)" is now available on-line. More to be expected soon.


INTEGRAL operations were suspended for ~10 hours on friday night (15/16 Feb 2013)

18 February 2013 Due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances connected to the combined  XMM-Newton/INTEGRAL spacecraft operations team, there was no possibility for human control of INTEGRAL operations for a 10 hour period, friday night. For safety reasons the satellite was left at the attitude which it reached at the end of the evening shift at the Missions Operations Centre (i.e., one of the pointings towards 1H 0323+342, proposal 1020027), from about 19:30. The IBIS and SPI instruments were put into a safe configuration, while JEM-X and OMC were left on to take data.

On Saturday 16 February, in the morning, IBIS and SP operations resumed smoothly at around 07:55, and the nominal timeline was followed again.

New observations of Swift J174510.8-262411 in decay

6 February 2013 After the 1 Ms approved Target of Opportunity on the X-ray transient Swift J174510.8-262411 which started last September 12th 2012, INTEGRAL will perform another 220 ks observations on that source, starting on February 16th. This X-ray binary is now in outburst decay and shows radio emission (see ATels #4760 and #4782). The PI of the observation is Dr Kalemci.

Please consult the scheduling pages for more information.

Upcoming call for AO-11

8 January 2013 ISOC is preparing the next call for proposals requesting INTEGRAL observing time. The AO-11 release will be on 4 March 2013, deadline 12 April 2013. The subsequent call for proposals requesting data rights will be released September 2013. The AO-11 cycle of observations will begin on 1 January 2014 and has a duration of 12 months.

Release of AO-11: call for observing time proposals:   4 March 2013
Deadline for submission of observing time proposals:   12 April 2013 (14:00 CEST)
Meeting of the Time Allocation Committee:   27-29 May 2013
Release of AO-11: call for data rights proposals:   9 September 2013
Deadline for submission of data rights proposals:   4 October 2013 (14:00 CEST)
Meeting of the Time Allocation Committee:   November 2013
Start of AO-11 cycle of observations:   1 January 2014

AO-10 has started!

7 January 2013

Happy New Year to all! The AO-10 cycle of observations started on January 1st and will last 12 months. The INTEGRAL target lists and sky maps are available here.

See also:


     Copyright © 2014 European Space Agency. All rights reserved.
This page was first created on 5 March, 2013 and was last updated on 25 February, 2014.
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