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3 December 2011
Integral model
Credits: ESA

Technicians at work on Integral
Integral is Europe's latest gamma ray observatory. Its tasks will be to gather gamma rays, the most energetic radiation in the Universe. Integral's observation programme includes studying supernovae, gamma ray bursts and black holes.

Size hi-res: 1767 kb
Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab

Artist's impression of Integral
The task of Integral, ESA's International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory, is to gather the most energetic radiation that comes from space. The spacecraft was launched in October 2002 and it is helping to solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. Gamma rays are even more powerful than the X-rays used in medical examinations. Fortunately, Earth's atmosphere acts as a shield to protect us from this dangerous cosmic radiation. However this means that gamma rays from space can only be detected by satellites. Integral is the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched. It detects radiation from the most violent events far away and from processes that made the Universe habitable.

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