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Be an INTEGRAL astronomer - competition

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, and as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy cornerstone project, the European Space Agency is running a competition in which you can study one of the most active regions of our Galaxy and be in with a chance to win great prizes: a visit to the European Space Astronomy Centre, a Celestron Sky Scout, a Media Player, the 'Eyes on the Skies' book, and more. Every individual who sends a valid entry will also receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in this competition.

The closing date for the 'Be an INTEGRAL astronomer' competition has passed.

Competition for secondary students and University undergraduates

Deadline: 14 August 2009

 

The Competition

By participating in this competition you too can explore the fascinating Galactic Bulge. Join the community of astronomers who are studying the violent and exotic processes that define this region of our Galaxy.

Be an INTEGRAL astronomer! Perform the mission and report back to us before 14 August, and be in with a chance to win some great prizes. Click the link below for your mission.

Your Mission

In their professional lives astronomers study, classify and describe the nature of the Universe. Until the late 19th century the Universe could be viewed only in visible light. The rapid development in technology in the 20th century resulted in the construction of innovative instrumentation which began to reveal the Universe through regions of the spectrum that had previously been hidden. The advent of the space age removed the final barrier to a complete view of the heavens.

Nowadays there are so many ways to study the Universe that most astronomers specialize in one domain of astronomy. They restrict their studies to one part of the spectrum and collaborate with other colleagues in order to build a complete picture of the multi-wavelength Universe.

INTEGRAL space observatory

By looking at the Universe as it is revealed in X-rays and gamma rays, INTEGRAL astronomers get to study some of the most intriguing and exotic objects in our Universe. X-rays and gamma rays are emitted by hot objects, typically with temperatures ranging from 100 million K to a few billion K. This includes objects such as black holes, extremely dense spinning neutron stars, supernovae, and the centres of galaxies. These objects participate in some of the most energetic processes in the Universe and by observing them astronomers can learn more about the fundamental laws of nature.

The rich central hub of our Galaxy

Since 2005 astronomers have been regularly monitoring the central hub of our Galaxy known as the Galactic Bulge. This is one of the oldest regions of our Galaxy and is a region rich in bright, variable high-energy X-ray and gamma-ray sources. Some of the most extreme objects in our Galaxy can be found there. These sources are so variable that the region never looks exactly the same. Astronomers would like to understand why these objects vary so much. Observing this region with INTEGRAL is a very efficient way to monitor this region because the entire Galactic Bulge can be viewed at one time. The data obtained during these monitoring observations is of such importance to the astronomical community that it is immediately made publicly available. 


Last Update: 18 August 2009
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