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


SMBH A Large Fraction of Rapidly-Growing Supermassive Black Holes Evade Census, 10-Jul-2017
Highly obscured and rapidly growing supermassive black holes (SMBH), known as AGN, might represent the key phase when SMBH accreted most of their mass and when the relationship between galaxies and their central SMBHs was established.
Further details on ESA's Space in Images pages.

Slew Tracks XMM-Newton slew tracks, 06-Jun-2017
This blue ‘ball of string’ actually records 2114 movements made by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope as it shifted its gaze from one X-ray object to another between August 2001 and December 2014.

Further details on ESA's Space in Images pages.

Professor Giovanni Bignami, 01-Jun-2017
It is with great regret that we have learned of the untimely death of Professor Giovanni Bignami. Nanni was a hugely influential figure in the field of high energy astronomy. He was the EPIC-PN Principal Investigator from 1988 to 1997. He also was very interested in outreach and popularisation of astronomy.

Slew Catalogue Sources in XMM-Newton’s second slew catalogue, 15-May-2017
This colourful, seemingly abstract artwork is actually a map depicting all the celestial objects that were detected in the XMM-Newton slew survey between August 2001 and December 2014.

Further details on ESA's Space in Images pages.

Crab Nebula IMAGE RELEASE: A New Look at the Crab Nebula, 10-May-2017
Astronomers produced this dramatic new, highly-detailed image of the Crab Nebula by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Further details on the NRAO portal.

Pulsar An Aging Pulsar has Captured a new Companion, and it’s Spinning back up Again, 01-May-2017
When massive stars reach the end of their life cycle, they explode in a massive supernova and cast off most of their material. What’s left is a “millisecond pulsar”.

Further details on Universe Today pages.