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GCN Circular 30949

BepiColombo MGNS joins the IPN
2021-10-20T12:08:08Z (3 years ago)
Kevin Hurley at UCBerkeley/SSL <>
K. Hurley on behalf of the IPN team,

A.S.��Kozyrev, D.V.��Golovin, M.L.��Litvak, I.G.��Mitrofanov, and A.B.��Sanin 
on behalf of the MGNS/BepiColombo team, and

J.��Benkhoff on behalf of the BepiColombo team, report:

The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission was launched on October 20, 2018 on a 
7.2-year journey to Mercury. After arrival in late 2025, the mission 
will spend a nominal one year in Mercury orbit. The mission consists of 
two spacecraft: the JAXA-provided Mio spacecraft for the thorough 
exploration of the environment, and the ESA-led Mercury Planetary 
Orbiter, MPO, for a comprehensive exploration of the planet itself, the 
interior, and its magnetic field. The MPO contains the Mercury Gamma-Ray 
and Neutron Spectrometer (MGNS) experiment [1, 2] consisting of a 3��� 
diameter x 3��� long CeBr3 scintillator, which also has a gamma-ray burst 
detection capability. During the cruise phase so far, MGNS operated for 
about 23 months, and has detected 38 confirmed gamma-ray bursts, 21 of 
which have been localized to annuli using data from HEND/Mars Odyssey, 
which is also part of the IPN since 2002. The verification of the 
localization accuracy of this method was based on gamma-ray bursts for 
which optical afterglows were detected. Reference [3] presents 5 
gamma-ray bursts as examples of these localizations.

MGNS is now the 34th experiment to be integrated into the interplanetary 
network (IPN) since 1977, which currently consists of Konus-Wind, Mars 
Odyssey, BepiColombo, Swift, INTEGRAL and AGILE. In this configuration, 
the IPN now has two interplanetary spacecraft, which will lead to more 
precise GRB localizations.


1. Mitrofanov, I.G., Kozyrev, A.S., Lisov, D.I., Litvak, M. L., et al. 
(2021). Space Science Reviews. Volume 217, Issue 5, article id.67A.


3. The links below show maps with localization annuli from MGNS-HEND 
data for 5 gamma-ray bursts: GRB 190530A, GRB 200219C, GRB 200415A, GRB 
200716C and GRB 210112A.
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