INTEGRAL Galactic Plane Scanning

Keeping watch over our Galaxy,
the return of the GPS!

For the first 5 years of INTEGRALs operational life, the scientific Core Programme included a key component that was the regular scanning of the Galactic Plane. This led to a wealth of discoveries of new sources and source types, a large fraction of which were highly transient. These discoveries can certainly be considered one of the strongest results from, and legacies of, INTEGRAL. Since AO-5, these regular scans have been discontinued, and this has resulted in a significant drop in the discovery rate of new systems in and around the plane of our Galaxy. The new Galactic Plane Scans, approved as a Key Programme throughout AO8 and possibly AO9, will allow the regular monitoring of known systems, and dramatically enhance the chances of discovering new ones. Such a programme will be of high value to a very large fraction of the high energy astronomical community, stimulating science immediately, and furthermore contributing greatly to the INTEGRAL legacy.
More specifically, continued observations along the Galactic Plane will provide a more uniform and longer baseline monitoring of the sources already discovered (variability and recurrence being key diagnostic parameters) and high probability of new source detection - such studies do not reach the point of 'diminishing returns' in the same way that persistent source searches in high exposure regions do. Transient object studies are still crucial since they the are the only source for which large luminosity variations allow us to rapidly sample a variety of physical conditions.

Any interesting source behaviour that emerges from the proposed observations will be announced promptly, so that rapid follow-up by the community will be possible in short time.

NEWS: This will be updated regularly

GPS pointings commenced in revolution 1048 (May 14th) and will be performed every revolution up to June 24th.

For detailed Observation Schedule information, please see Observation Schedule

18-40 keV (1 Crab ~ 208 counts/s)
40-100 keV (1 Crab ~ 100 counts/s)

3-10 keV (1 Crab on axis ~ 17.5 counts/s)
10-25 keV (1 Crab on axis ~ 5.5 counts/s)

The above numbers are taken from the results of rev 541. See details in Crab calibration observations.

WARNING: Please note that the latest results are "quick-look" results automatically extracted from the Near-Real-Time (NRT) data. As such they are affected by the known issues of the software package used to extract them (currently: OSA 10.2).

In addition, we are aware of several NRT data delivery and processing problems that may affect these observations, so particular attention is required when analysing and interpreting the data. Specifically:
  • A new NRT data receipt system at ISDC is in use.
  • Due to loss of the transmitted ISGRI context table, a default uniform context table has been used for rev. 1048 and 1049, affecting the quality of data below 25keV.
  • Connection / synch packet problems caused the temporary loss of some data in revolutions 1050 and 1051 and although these have now been recovered, the pipeline processing used for this is in a test phase.
  • Slewing problems due from the unusual pointing strategy resulted in many short scw in revolutions up to and including rev 1051.

This page is maintained by Francesca Onori and Mariateresa Fiocchi (IAPS/INAF).