ESA PR 79-2002 ESA presents Integral's first images
10 December 2002Integral, the European Space Agency's gamma-ray satellite, has taken its first images and collected its first scientific data. These 'first-light' images confirm that Integral is working superbly. Everyone involved with the project is highly satisfied with its performance so far.
Prof. David Southwood (ESA Director of Science), Dr Arvind Parmar (Integral's Project Scientist), and the principal investigators will present Integral's first ground-breaking images and results at a press conference. This press conference is on 18 December 2002 at ESA's Headquarters in Paris, France.
Since its launch on 17 October 2002, scientists have manoeuvred Integral into its operational orbit, thoroughly tested their communications link, and verified that the spacecraft will obey their commands. They have also been fine-tuning the instruments by observing the famous black hole, Cygnus X-1. "We have beautiful gamma-ray images and spectra of the sky to show," says Arvind Parmar. Astronomers use spectra to analyse the energy of the radiation that they observe.
Integral's results promise to be very special because it has already captured one of the most elusive events in the cosmos - a gamma-ray burst. Gamma-ray bursts are titanic explosions of varying duration that occur about twice daily. Scientists think that collapsing stars in the very distant Universe cause these mysterious, tremendous explosions. The fascinating and provocative results from this observation will be presented at the press conference.
For more information, please contact:
ESA Communication Department
Medial Relations Office
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 69 7155
Fax: +33 (0)1 53 69 7690
ESA - Acting Integral Project Scientist
ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 71 565 4532
For more information on the events during the press conference, see the press release link.