Group members: Sandro Mereghetti, Patrizia Caraveo, Lara Sidoli, Ada Paizis
The INTEGRAL satellite carries two main gamma-ray telescopes (IBIS and SPI), complemented by an X-ray monitor (JEM-X) and an optical camera (OMC). The four instruments point simultaneously at the same region of the sky to make complementary observations of high-energy sources. INTEGRAL was launched with a Proton rocket on October 17, 2002 into a highly eccentric orbit (3 days period), which allows long observations outside the Earth radiation belts. The INTEGRAL Science Data Center (ISDC), located near Geneva, receives the spacecraft telemetry within seconds and provides alerts, processed data and analysis software to the worldwide scientific community.
Over the past decade, the INTEGRAL satellite has observed the whole sky at hard X-ray and soft gamma-ray energies with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, shedding new light on several classes of galactic and extra-galactic sources. Highlights of the mission include the study of the emission from electron-positron annihilation in the Galaxy, the discovery of previously unknown classes of X-ray binaries (e.g. the Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients), the characterisation of the cosmic X-ray background and the first detection of polarisation in gamma-ray sources.
IASF-Milano has contributed to the developement of the IBIS and SPI instruments and is a member of the international consortium that has provided the ISDC. IASF-MI has led the realization of the INTEGRAL Burst Alert System (IBAS), the ground-based softare which detects the gamma-ray burst in the field of view of INTEGRAL and distributes in real time their coordinates.
The INTEGRAL Team scientists at IASF-MI are deeply involved in the exploitation of the INTEGRAL data, mainly in the fields of X-ray Binaries, Isolated Neutron Stars, and Gamma Ray Bursts, and in the operational duties related to IBAS.
Furthermore, an archive of INTEGRAL data and IBIS products, with tools to browse and handle the results, is being regularly maintained (GOLIA, Giant On-Line INTEGRAL Archive)