Integral’s orbits 2002–17
ESA’s Integral space observatory has been orbiting Earth for 15 years, observing the ever-changing, powerful and violent cosmos in gamma rays, X-rays and visible light. Studying stars exploding as supernovas, monster black holes and, more recently, even gamma-rays that were associated with gravitational waves, Integral continues to broaden our understanding of the high-energy Universe. This image visualises the orbits of the spacecraft since its launch on 17 October 2002, until October of this year. Integral travels in a highly eccentric orbit. The orbit brought it to within 2756 km of Earth at its closest, on 25 October 2011, to 159 967 km at the furthest, two days later.