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Welcome to the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre

XMM-Newton Essentials
The European Space Agency's (ESA) X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) was launched by an Ariane 504 on December 10th 1999. XMM-Newton is ESA's second cornerstone of the Horizon 2000 Science Programme. It carries 3 high throughput X-ray telescopes with an unprecedented effective area, and an optical monitor, the first flown on a X-ray observatory. The large collecting area and ability to make long uninterrupted exposures provide highly sensitive observations.

Since Earth's atmosphere blocks out all X-rays, only a telescope in space can detect and study celestial X-ray sources. The XMM-Newton mission is helping scientists to solve a number of cosmic mysteries, ranging from the enigmatic black holes to the origins of the Universe itself. Observing time on XMM-Newton is being made available to the scientific community, applying for observational periods on a competitive basis.

Read more about the spacecraft, mirrors and instruments and about the XMM-Newton SOC.

News and Highlights

ON2 Star-forming region ON2, 24-Mar-2014
Massive stars are born in tumultuous clouds of gas and dust. They lead a brief but intense life, blowing powerful winds of particles and radiation that strike their surroundings, before their explosive demise as supernovas. The interplay between massive stars and their environment is revealed in this image of the star-forming region ON2. It combines X-ray coverage from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory with an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Further details on ESA's Space in Images portal.

Magnificent Seven XMM-Newton reveals a candidate period for the spin of the "Magnificent Seven" neutron star RX J1605.3+3249, 11-Mar-2014
The "Magnificent Seven" is a group of thermal X-ray emitting isolated neutron stars whose properties are closer to magnetars than classical rotationally powered pulsars. To date, rotational periods have been determined for all but RX J1605+3249. This paper reports the XMM-Newton successful detection of pulsed emission, a period of 3.38 sec, and evidence of a spindown that implies a dipole field of about 7 x 1013G.
Further details on the Astronomy & Astrophysics portal.

Black hole Chandra and XMM-Newton Provide Direct Measurement of Distant Black Hole's Spin, 05-Mar-2014
Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's (ESA's) XMM-Newton to show a supermassive black hole six billion light years from Earth is spinning extremely rapidly. This first direct measurement of the spin of such a distant black hole is an important advance for understanding how black holes grow over time.
Further details on the Chandra X-ray Observatory pages.

M51 The whirl of stellar life, 27-Jan-2014
The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51 or NGC 5194, is one of the most spectacular examples of a spiral galaxy. With two spiral arms curling into one another in a billowing swirl, this galaxy hosts over a hundred billion stars and is currently merging with its companion, the smaller galaxy NGC 5195.
Further details on the ESA Space in Images pages.

Magnetar Rare magnetar discovered in the vicinity of a supernova remnant, 12-Dec-2013
A team of astronomers led by the PhD student Ms. Ping Zhou from the University of Nanjing in China discovered a new transient magnetar. This magnetar, the ninth of its class, was identified during a COSPAR Capacity Building Workshop for young researchers in developing countries.
Further details on the COSPAR portal.

Today's Revolution

Refereed Papers

Current Target
PKS 2155-304 -2

XMM-Newton Users Group Meeting #15
ESAC, 10-11 April 2014

14th XMM-Newton SAS Workshop
ESAC, 2-6 June 2014
Pre-registration deadline: 15 April

Symposium "The X-ray Universe 2014"
Dublin, 16-19 June 2014
Abstract Subm. deadline passed.
Poster submission still possible
Early Registration until 28 Apr

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This page was last updated on 27 March, 2014.