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

graziellaGraziella Branduardi-Raymont 10-Nov-2023
Staff, students and friends of MSSL have paid tributes to Professor Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, who passed away on 3rd November after several weeks in hospital. After obtaining her PhD in X-ray astronomy in 1977, Graziella moved to the Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the US to work on data coming from NASA’s revolutionary new Einstein Observatory, which was the first X-ray astronomy satellite to carry imaging X-ray optics. Notably, the first high-resolution X-ray image of the Perseus cluster of galaxies from Einstein was published in a paper led by Graziella. Graziella's mission involvements included ESA’s first X-ray observatory, Exosat, the German-UK-US observatory, Rosat and ESA’s XMM-Newton.
Further details on UCL web portal.

exo-neptuneAn Exo-Neptune Beat the Odds and Kept its Atmosphere 30-Oct-2023
As planet-hunting scientists find more and more planets, they’ve encountered some puzzles. One of them concerns the lack of Neptune-size worlds orbiting close to their stars. Astronomers think that these planets aren’t massive enough to retain their atmospheres in the face of their stars’ powerful radiation, which strips it away. The answer must lie in the star itself, since there’s nothing a planet this size can do to shield itself. It’s directly in the path of its star’s powerful output with nothing to shield it. To examine the star more closely, the researchers behind this study used XMM-Newton.
Further details on Universe Today web portal.

2023-09-rcw_86_x_raysThe Shocking Nature of Supernova Remnant RCW 86 25-Oct-2023
To study the effects of the environment on supernova remnant evolution, the authors made use of an observation of RCW 86 from the X-ray space telescope XMM-Newton. The observation was conducted in 2014, and collected photons across two energy bands, namely the red (0.5 – 2.0 keV) and blue (2.0 – 8.0 keV) bands.
Further details on Astrobites web portal.

2023-09-tomaszEuropean astronomers explore galaxy cluster G113 12-Oct-2023
A group of astronomers led by Maria Giulia Campitiello of the University of Bologna in Italy, decided to change this. They investigated G113 in X-rays as part of the Cluster HEritage project with XMM-Newton: Mass Assembly and Thermodynamics at the Endpoint of structure formation (CHEX-MATE). Their study was complemented by images from the LOFAR Two-meter Sky Survey-Data release 2 (LoTSS-DR2).
Further details on Phys.org web portal.

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.