Date sent: 2 November 2017, 12:13

From: Anna Watts (

Subject: IAU Div D (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics) Bulletin No. 18 - November 1 2017

IAU Division D Bulletin N. 18: November 1, 2017


  • INTEGRAL news
  • Upcoming conferences, meetings, workshops and schools (new announcements)


Two dates in 2017 were big milestones for INTEGRAL. First, on 17 August 2017, multi-messenger gravitational-wave (GW) and electro-magnetic (EM) (astro)physics was born. INTEGRAL played an important role in discovering the flash of gamma rays linked to GWs. Both NASA's Fermi/GBM and ESA's INTEGRAL/SPI-ACS recorded a short Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB170817A; see Figure \ref{GRB170817A_spiacs}). Such bursts are not uncommon, but this one was preceded about 1.7 seconds earlier by a GW signal detected by LIGO. The detection, most probably the tell-tale-sign of a neutron star merger, led to an intense follow-up campaign by a large number of ground and space telescopes. An afterglow counterpart was pinpointed and detected at various wavelengths: the merger had triggered a kilonova to be seen for days-weeks after. First results were made public on 16 October 2017 in press conferences all around the world. This historic event has led to at least 84 papers (see, many of them appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters (see, as well as Science and Nature. The INTEGRAL results featured in ApJL (848, L15; and in at least two other seminal joint papers (including one with a measure of the speed of gravitational waves:

The second round of LIGO and Virgo GW operations (O2) has just ended (25 August 2017). The third round of LIGO/Virgo GW operations (O3) with improved sensitivities is expected to start in Autumn 2018; extending INTEGRAL's operations after the currently confirmed period (end of 2018), therefore, of utmost importance, in what is already now referred to as the "golden age of GW astronomy". This is an opportunity we should not miss.

The second memorable date is 17 October 2017; this marked 15 years in operation for INTEGRAL. 15 years before that date, the INTEGRAL spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Proton rocket. From rare breeds of high-energy stars to the feeding habits of monster black holes and the annihilation of antimatter, the mission has been uncovering the secrets of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. And since it is never too late to try something new, in recent times INTEGRAL has begun to play a crucial role in new fields of astrophysics, like follow-up of high-energy neutrinos and Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), or especially exciting: the above-mentioned study of GW sources. During all these years of operations INTEGRAL has travelled almost 800 million km along an elliptical orbit that has varied over time. In 2015, a series of maneuvres were carried out to ensure that the satellite's eventual entry into the atmosphere, in 2029, will meet ESA's guidelines for minimising space debris. It currently revolves around the Earth in about 2.6 days, with a maximum apogee of about 1/3 of the distance to the Moon, resulting in continuous duty cycle of about 2.25 days.

To celebrate the anniversary, the "15 years INTEGRAL Symposium: Energetic Time Domain Astrophysics" took place 16--20 October 2017 in Venice, Italy. The Symposium was held in honour of Neil Gehrels (who passed away on 6 February 2017) and Nanni Bignami (who passed away on 24 May 2017). The Symposium also saw the invention of a new prize: the "Mikhail Revnivtsev Prize", a distinction established in honour of the renowned high-energy astrophysicist from the Russian Federation, to be given to a young scientist (younger than 35 years old as of July 31, 2017). It was awarded to Volodymyr Savchenko for his outstanding scientific contribution to INTEGRAL.


Upcoming Conferences, Meetings, Workshops and Schools

Black Hole formation and growth (48th Saas Fee Advanced Course)
Saas-Fee, Switzerland
January 28-February 3, 2018


Multi wavelength polarimetry (EWASS 2018 Special Session)
Liverpool, UK
3-6 April, 2018


Gamma-ray Bursts, Hypernovae and Superluminous Supernovae (EWASS 2018 Special Session)
Liverpool, UK
3-6 April, 2018


21st International School of Cosmic Ray Astrophysics
Erice, Italy
August 1-7, 2018


Workshop on Education in Astronomy and Astrobiology (IAU GA 2018)
Vienna, Austria
19 August 2018
For more details or for inscriptions, please contact: Margarita Metaxa ( or Rosie Cane (


Warm and Hot Baryonic Matter in the Cosmos (IAU GA 2018 Focus meeting)
Vienna, Austria
August 30-31, 2018



If you wish to share with IAU Div D any information about matters that may be relevant to the activities of Div D Members, please send an e-mail to . This will appear in the next Bulletin, which will be sent out on December 1, 2017.  Thank you in advance for your inputs, and best regards.


Dr Anna Watts Secretary of IAU Div D Steering Committee

Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam


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