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

2023-09-abellTwo large cold fronts detected in the galaxy cluster Abell 3558 12-Sep-2023
Astronomers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville have investigated the galaxy cluster Abell 3558 using ESA's XMM-Newton spacecraft. In their results, they detected two large-scale sloshing cold fronts in the outskirts of this cluster. The finding was reported in a paper published August 30 on the pre-print server arXiv.
Further details on Phys.org web portal.

2023-08-eclipsing-absorberAstronomers Reveal Marvellous Eclipsing Absorber in Active Galaxy NGC 6814 28-Aug-2023
A research team led by Prof. WANG Junxian and PhD students KANG Jialai from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) has revealed a marvellous, composite eclipsing absorber responsible for a highly distinct X-ray eclipse event in active galaxy NGC 6814 observed with XMM-Newton. The paper, titled as “What can be learnt from a highly informative X-ray occultation event in NGC 6814? A marvellous absorber” was published by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on August 23. This information is also available at: https://phys.org/news/2023-08-astronomers-reveal-eclipsing-absorber-galaxy.html
Further details on University of Science and Technology of China and Phys.org web portal.

2023-08-giant-black-holeA giant black hole destroys a massive star 23-Aug-2023
Astronomers have made a thorough forensic study of a star that was torn apart when it ventured too close to a giant black hole and then had its insides tossed out into space. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton studied the amount of nitrogen and carbon near a black hole known to have torn apart a star. Astronomers think these elements were created inside the star before it was ripped apart as it neared the black hole.
Further details on Phys.org web portal.

xipsXMM-Newton 23rd Announcement of Opportunity (AO-23) 17-Aug-2023
The XMM-Newton Twenty-third Announcement of Opportunity is now open and observing proposals may be submitted.
The deadline is 6 October 2023, 12:00 UT
Further details here on our XMM-Newton SOC web portal.

2023-07-new-stellar-object-magnetarAstronomers discover a new type of stellar object hiding in plain sight 19-Jul-2023
The object could be an ultra-long period magnetar, a rare type of neutron star with extremely strong magnetic fields that can produce powerful bursts of energy, but also a magnetic white dwarf, the old phase of a Sun-like star. ICE-CSIC researchers Nanda Rea and Francesco Coti Zelati led follow-up observations of this new object using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC), the world's largest optical telescope located in La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain), along with ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray telescope, and coordinated the physical interpretation of the results.
Further details on ICE-CSIC web portal.

2023-06-white-dwarf-pulsarWhite dwarf pulsar discovery confirms new class of star 19-Jun-2023
The discovery of a new “pulsing” binary star system has shed new light on the evolution of stars while confirming a new exotic class of stellar object: the white dwarf pulsar. The follow-up investigation with the ESA satellite XMM-Newton revealed the pulsations in the high-energy X-ray regime, thus confirming the unusual nature of the new object and firmly establishing the white dwarf pulsars as a new class.
Further details on Interesting Engineering web portal.