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


XMM-Newton reveals giant flare from a tiny star XMM-Newton reveals giant flare from a tiny star, 20-Feb-2020
A star of about eight percent the Sun’s mass has been caught emitting an enormous 'super flare' of X-rays – a dramatic high-energy eruption that poses a fundamental problem for astronomers, who did not think it possible on stars that small.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration portal.

XMM-Newton maps black hole surroundings XMM-Newton maps black hole surroundings, 20-Jan-2020
Material falling into a black hole casts X-rays out into space - and now, for the first time, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has used the reverberating echoes of this radiation to map the dynamic behaviour and surroundings of a black hole itself.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration portal.

XMM-NEWTON DISCOVERS SCORCHING GAS IN MILKY WAY'S HALO XMM-Newton discovers scorching gas in milky way's halo, 16-Jan-2020
ESA's XMM-Newton has discovered that gas lurking within the Milky Way's halo reaches far hotter temperatures than previously thought and has a different chemical make-up than predicted, challenging our understanding of our galactic home.
Further details on ESA's Science & Technology portal.

FIRST SIGHTING OF HOY GAS SLOSHING IN GALAXY CLUSTER First sighting of hot gas sloshing in galaxy cluster, 10-Jan-2020
ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has spied hot gas sloshing around within a galaxy cluster - a never-before-seen behaviour that may be driven by turbulent merger events.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration portal.

XMM-Newton_s_20th_anniversary_in_space_pillars XMM-NEWTON's 20th ANNIVERSARY IN SPACE, 10-Dec-2019
On 10 December, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory is celebrating its 20th launch anniversary. In those two decades, the observatory has supplied a constant stream of outstanding science. One area that the mission has excelled in is the science of black holes, having had a profound effect on our understanding of these cosmic enigmas.
Further details on ESAS's Science & Exploration portal.

For the first time, astronomers have detected synchronised pulses of optical and X-ray radiation from a mysterious pulsar some 4500 light years away. The observations indicate that a new physical mechanism might be needed to explain the behaviour of fast-spinning sources like this one, known as transitional millisecond pulsars.
Further details on ESAS's Science & Technology portal.