Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics

​​​​NewAthena has been conceived as a powerful X-ray observatory with an unprecedented combination of collecting area, survey capabilities and energy resolution. It will be operated as an open observatory. The majority of the observing time will be allocated through peer-reviewed proposals open to the whole astronomical community worldwide.

At the June 2014 meeting of ESA Science Programme Committe (SPC), an observatory named "Athena" was selected for the 2nd Large-mission opportunity. After assessing that the cost to ESA of the original mission concept would exceed the level of resources of the Science Program, the SPC endorsed at the November 2023 meeting a rescoped version of Athena ("NewAthena"). The SPC recognized that NewAthena is a flagship mission of the ESA Science Program.

While Athena was selected to address the Cosmic Vision theme of the "Hot and Energetic Universe", NewAthena is posed to have a transformational impact on most areas of modern astrophysics. Its performance is an excellent match to those of large ground-based and space-borne observational facilities to be operational in the 2030s. NewAthena will also provide a key contribution to multi-messenger astrophysics, in synergy with gravitational wave arrays and neutrino telescopes.

Links on the left provide:

  • More details on the original Athena mission as proposed by the high-energy astrophysics community,
  • Links to a description of the ESA Study Team scope and activities, and to the NewAthena Science Redefinition Team,
  • Information for scientists interested in the scientific performance of the mission (with links to tools for simulations whenever appropriate).

 For more information on the NewAthena science and scientific community, we encourage visiting the site of the Athena Community Office.

CDF sketch of Athena in-orbit