Picture of the Month

July 2010

POM July 2010

The Hard X-ray Milky Way

The INTEGRAL observatory has performed the deepest survey of the Galactic plane and the Galactic bulge ever in X-ray astronomy. However, until recently, it was virtually impossible to take advantage of these deep observations due to strong systematic effects of sky reconstruction methods applied so far, which render the identification of weak sources very difficult. Using an improved sky reconstruction method for the IBIS/ISGRI telescope, as described by R. Krivonos et. al., 2010 (A&A, in press), one can effectively suppress the systematic noise and conduct the most sensitive survey ever made of the Milky Way above 20 keV. The faintest detectable flux, at the 5 sigma detection level, reached 0.26 mCrab in the 17-60 keV energy band. The density of sources in the Galactic bulge region is so high, that the total number of sources in a 20 Ms deep field is about 80 within the IBIS field of view, which is at the limit for the coded mask telescope.

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