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

Abell 2390XMM-Newton shows million-degree gas in Abell 2390 16-Jul-2024
Scientists have combined Euclid’s recently released image of the massive galaxy cluster Abell 2390 with XMM-Newton’s X-ray observation of the same site to showcase the blazing hot gas that fills the space between the galaxies. In the image, the light captured by XMM-Newton appears as a blue glow that permeates the expanses between the galaxies. The diffuse light is brighter towards the centre of the cluster, indicating that there the gas becomes hotter and more concentrated.
Further details on ESA web portal.

SupernovaFresh wind blows from historical supernova 5-Jul-2024
A mysterious remnant from a rare type of supernova recorded in 1181 has been explained for the first time. Two white dwarf stars collided, creating a temporary “guest star,” now labeled supernova (SN) 1181, which was recorded in historical documents in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. However, after the star dimmed, its location and structure remained a mystery until a team pinpointed its location in 2021.
Further details on UTokio web portal.

ExoplanetsNASA's Chandra Checks Habitability of Exoplanets 1-Jul-2024
Based on X-ray observations of some of these stars using data from Chandra and XMM-Newton, the research team examined which stars could have hospitable conditions on orbiting planets for life to form and prosper. They studied how bright the stars are in X-rays, how energetic the X-rays are, and how much and how quickly they change in X-ray output, for example, due to flares. Brighter and more energetic X-rays can cause more damage to the atmospheres of orbiting planets.
Further details on NASA’s Chandra web portal.

rapidly-cooling-pulsars-ultra-dense-matterSpinning pulsar stars may contain ultra-dense matter that's not found anywhere else in the Universe 24-Jun-2024
Astronomers examined pulsar PSR J0205+6449 at the supernova remnant's centre, and other pulsars like it, using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope.
Further details on BBC Sky at night Magazine web portal.

Too young to be so cool: lessons from three neutron starsToo young to be so cool: lessons from three neutron stars 21-Jun-2024
ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra spacecraft have detected three young neutron stars that are unusually cold for their age. By comparing their properties to different neutron star models, scientists conclude that the oddballs’ low temperatures disqualify around 75% of known models. This is a big step towards uncovering the one neutron star ‘equation of state’ that rules them all, with important implications for the fundamental laws of the Universe.
Further details on ESA’s Science & Exploration web portal.

Brandt6-2024How do supermassive black holes get super massive? 12-Jun-2024
Combined X-ray surveys and supercomputer simulations track 12 billion years of cosmic black-hole growth[...]. The research team used complementary data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission-Newton (XMM-Newton), and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics’ eROSITA telescope.
Further details on Eberly College of Science web portal.