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N° 79–2002: ESA presents Integral's first images

11 December 2002

Integral, 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 delighted with its performance so far.

Professor David Southwood (ESA Director of Science), Dr Arvind Parmar (Integral's Acting Project Scientist), and the Principal Investigators will be presenting Integral’s first ground-breaking images and results at a press conference on 18 December at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.

Since its launch on 17 October, scientists have manoeuvred Integral into its operational orbit, thoroughly tested their communications link, and verified the spacecraft's response to 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 thought-provoking results from this observation will be presented at the press conference.

Media representatives wishing to attend are kindly requested to complete the attached accreditation form and return it, preferably by fax, to the ESA Media Relations Service in Paris (Fax : +33(0)1.53.69.7690).

For further information please contact:

ESA - Communication Department

Media Relations Office

Tel: +33(0)1 53 69 7155

Fax: +33(0)1 53 69 7690

Dr Arvind Parmar, ESA – Acting Integral Project Scientist

ESA – ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Tel: +31 71 565 4532

E-mail: Arvind.Parmar@esa.int

For more information on the INTEGRAL mission and the ESA Science Programme, visit the ESA science website at: http://sci.esa.int/integral

Press conference programme

Wednesday 18 December 2002 - 08:30

ESA Headquarters

8-10 rue Mario-Nikis

Paris, France

08:30-09:00 - Breakfast with the press

09:00-09:10 - Welcome & Introduction, by Prof. D. Southwood, ESA Director of Science

09:10-09:20 - The Integral mission - objectives, activities and future plans, by Dr A.N. Parmar, ESA – Acting Integral Project Scientist

09:20-09:30 - First lights from the Optical Monitor (OMC) on board Integral, by Dr M. Mas-Hesse, OMC Principal Investigator, LAEFF, Spain

09:30-09:40 - First lights from the X-ray monitor (JEM-X) on board Integral, by Dr N. Lund, JEM-X Principal Investigator, DSRI, Denmark

09:40-09:50 - First-light images of the Cygnus region with the gamma-ray imager (IBIS) on board Integral, by Dr P. Ubertini, IBIS Principal Investigator, and Dr François Lebrun, IBIS Co –Principal Investigator, CEA Saclay, France

09:50-10:00 - First-light spectra of the Cygnus region with the gamma-ray spectrometer (SPI) on board Integral, by Dr J.P. Roques, SPI Co-Principal Investigator, CESR, France

10:00-10:30 - Questions & Answers

Press conference Integral first images

Wednesday 18 December 2002 - 08:30

ESA Headquarters

8-10 rue Mario-Nikis

Paris, France

First name: ___________________ Surname: ___________________

Media: _____________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________

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Tel: ________________________ Fax: _________________________

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Please fax this form bac to :

ESA Media Relations Service

Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Service
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690



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