Latest INTEGRAL Stories

2007-11-07 10:05:33

Astronomers from around the world have been discussing the extraordinary scientific riches that have flowed from ESA's orbiting gamma-ray observatory, Integral. Here we present the gist of some of the astonishing ones. When Integral was launched in 2002 it was intended to take detailed gamma-ray images and spectra of the universe and to look for new types of sources in this relatively unexplored field. In all these objectives, it has excelled. "Integral discovers about 100 new gamma-ray...

2007-10-17 14:55:00

With eyes that peer into the most energetic phenomena in the universe, ESA's Integral has been setting records, discovering the unexpected and helping understanding the unknown over its first five years. Integral was launched on 17 October 2002. Since then, the satellite has helped scientists make great strides in understanding the gamma-ray universe - from the atoms that make up all matter, giant black holes, mysterious gamma-ray bursts to the densest objects in the universe.  The...

2007-02-20 15:20:00

Integral's latest survey of the gamma-ray universe continues to change the way astronomers think of the high-energy cosmos. With over seventy percent of the sky now observed by Integral, astronomers have been able to construct the largest catalogue yet of individual gamma-ray-emitting celestial objects. And there is no end in sight for the discoveries. Integral is the European Space Agency's latest orbiting gamma-ray observatory. Ever since Integral began scientific operations in 2003,...

2007-02-02 15:57:43

If a satellite encounters high-energy particles or other 'space weather' phenomena before ground controllers can take action, on-board electronics could be disrupted, scientific instruments damaged and, in very rare and extreme cases, spacecraft may even be lost. A sophisticated tool in development at ESOC promises to provide effective monitoring and forecasting for any type of mission. But since early 2005, SEISOP (Space Environment Information System for Operations), a space-weather...

2007-01-18 09:30:00

ESA's gamma ray observatory Integral has caught the centre of our galaxy in a moment of rare quiet. A handful of the most energetic high-energy sources surrounding the black hole at the centre of the Galaxy had all faded into a temporary silence when Integral looked. This unusual event is allowing astronomers to probe for even fainter objects and may give them a glimpse of matter disappearing into the massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. The Galactic centre is one of the most...

2006-11-27 09:55:00

ESA's gamma-ray observatory, Integral, has spotted a rare kind of gamma-ray outburst. The vast explosion of energy allowed astronomers to pinpoint a possible black hole in our Galaxy. The outburst was discovered on 17 September 2006 by staff at the Integral Science Data Centre (ISDC), Versoix, Switzerland. Inside the ISDC, astronomers constantly monitor the data coming down from Integral because they know the sky at gamma-ray wavelengths can be a swiftly changing place. "The galactic centre...

2006-09-07 09:32:08

Astronomers using ESA's orbiting gamma-ray observatory, Integral, have taken an important step towards estimating how many black holes there are in the Universe. An international team, lead by Eugene Churazov and Rashid Sunyaev, Space Research Institute, Moscow, and involving scientists from all groups of the Integral consortium, used the Earth as a giant shield to watch the number of tell-tale gamma rays from the distant Universe dwindle to zero, as our planet blocked their view. "Point...

2006-07-28 08:40:00

Scientists on a quest to find hidden black holes in the local universe have found surprisingly few. The observation implies that if these hidden black holes exist---and most scientists are convinced they do---they must be from the more distant, earlier universe, a concept that has interesting implications for galaxy evolution. This work constitutes the first census of the highest-energy part of the X-ray sky, where the most dust-enshrouded black holes are thought to shine. A team from NASA's...

2006-06-16 09:22:38

Thanks to a clever piece of design and a sophisticated piece of analysis by European astronomers, Integral - ESA's orbiting gamma ray observatory - can now make images of the most powerful gamma-ray bursts even if the spacecraft itself is pointing somewhere completely different. Scientists know that once every day or two, a powerful gamma ray burst (GRB) will take place somewhere in the Universe. Most will last between 0.1 and 100 seconds, so if your telescope is not pointing in exactly the...

2006-03-16 06:27:41

ESA -- Tiny stellar 'corpses' have been caught blasting surprisingly powerful X-rays and gamma rays across our galaxy by ESA's gamma-ray observatory Integral. This discovery links these objects to the most magnetically active bodies in the Universe and forces scientists to reconsider just how dead such stellar corpses really are. Known as anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs), the stellar corpses were first spotted pulsing low-energy X-rays into space during the 1970s by the Uhuru X-ray satellite....

Latest INTEGRAL Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:43

Gamma-Ray Astronomy -- Gamma-ray astronomy is the astronomical study of gamma rays. Long before experiments could detect gamma rays emitted by cosmic sources, scientists had known that the universe should be producing these photons. Work by Feenberg and Primakoff in 1948, Hayakawa and Hutchinson in 1952, and, especially, Morrison in 1958 had led scientists to believe that a number of different processes which were occurring in the universe would result in gamma-ray emission. These...

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Word of the Day
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'