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


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.

Accretion Disk around Black Hole X-ray Echoes of a Shredded Star Provide Close-up of 'Killer' Black Hole, 22-Jun-2016
Some 3.9 billion years ago in the heart of a distant galaxy, the intense tidal pull of a monster black hole shredded a star that passed too close.
Further details on NASA's web pages.

Wind Nebula Astronomers Find the First "Wind Nebula" Around a Magnetar , 21-Jun-2016
Astronomers have discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles called a wind nebula around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, for the first time.
Further details on the NASA portal and on Science Daily's pages

High-Speed winds Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries, 28-Apr-2016
ESA's XMM-Newton has discovered gas streaming away at a quarter of the speed of light from very bright X-ray binaries in two nearby galaxies.
Further details on ESA's Space Science pages.

Spinning Neutron Star Found: Andromeda's first spinning neutron star, 31-Mar-2016
Decades of searching in the Milky Way's nearby 'twin' galaxy Andromeda have finally paid off, with the discovery of an elusive breed of stellar corpse, a neutron star, by ESA's XMM-Newton space telescope.
Further details on ESA's Space Science pages.

Winds from Spiral Galaxy A Milky Way twin swept by an ultra-fast X-ray wind, 14-Jan-2016
ESA's XMM-Newton has found a wind of high-speed gas streaming from the centre of a bright spiral galaxy like our own that may be reducing its ability to produce new stars.
Further details on ESA's Space Science pages.

Stephan's Quintet Sparkling Stephan's Quintet, 21-Dec-2015
The Stephan's Quintet of galaxies was discovered by astronomer Édouard Stephan in 1877. At the time, however, he reported the discovery of 'new nebulae', as the concept of other galaxies beyond our Milky Way was only formalised in the 1920s.
Further details on ESA's Space in Images pages.