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The task of INTEGRAL, ESA's International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory, is to gather some of the most energetic radiation that comes from space. The spacecraft was launched on 17 October 2002 and it's helping to solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy.
The mission is dedicated to the fine spectroscopy (E/∆E = 500) and fine imaging (angular resolution: 12 arcmin FWHM) of celestial gamma-ray sources in the energy range 15 keV to 10 MeV with concurrent source monitoring in the X-ray (4-35 keV) and optical (V-band, 550 nm) energy ranges.
Gamma-rays are even more powerful than the X-rays used in medical examinations. Fortunately, the Earth's atmosphere acts as a shield to protect us from this dangerous cosmic radiation. However, this means that gamma-rays from astronomical sources can only be detected by satellites. INTEGRAL is the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched.