Welcome to the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre


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


Wandering Black Hole X-ray Telescopes Find Evidence for Wandering Black Hole, 05-Oct-2016
Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory to discover an extremely luminous, variable X-ray source located outside the center of its parent galaxy. This peculiar object could be a wandering black hole.
Further details on NASA's pages.

Galaxy Cluster Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster Discovered, 30-Aug-2016
A new record for the most distant galaxy cluster has been set using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. This galaxy cluster may have been caught right after birth, a brief, but important stage of evolution never seen before.
Further details on NASA's Chandra pages.

Milky Way XMM-Newton reveals the Milky Way's explosive past, 29-Aug-2016
A giant bubble surrounding the centre of the Milky Way shows that six million years ago our Galaxy's supermassive black hole was ablaze with furious energy. It also shines a light on the hiding place of the Galaxy's so-called 'missing' matter.
Further details on ESA's Science & Technology pages.

RPS XMM-Newton 16th Announcement of Opportunity (AO-16), 23-Aug-2016
The XMM-Newton Sixteenth Announcement of Opportunity is now open and observing proposals may be submitted.
The deadline is 7 October 2016, 12:00 UT

Further details here on our XMM-Newton SOC website.

Milky Way Halo Astronomers Discover Dizzying Spin of the Milky Way Galaxy’s "Halo", 25-Jul-2016
Astronomers at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) discovered for the first time that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy's disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust.
Further details on NASA's portal.

Black Hole Gravitational vortex provides new way to study matter close to a black hole, 12-Jul-2016
ESA's orbiting X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, has proved the existence of a 'gravitational vortex' around a black hole. The discovery, aided by NASA's NuSTAR mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years.
Further details on ESA's Science & Technology pages.