XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre
XMM-Newton is Europe's X-ray space telescope, named in memory of Issac Newton.
The Earth's atmosphere absorbs cosmic X-rays, so space-based instruments are required for X-ray astronomy. XMM-Newton is dedicated to observing the extreme astronomical objects that emit X-rays. X-rays originate from where-ever gas is heated to millions of degrees, or where powerful magnetic fields exist.
To mention just a few examples, XMM-Newton observes:
Gas falling into black holes
Stars with powerful magnetic fields
Shock fronts surrounding supernovae explosions and comets
Aurora around planets
Compact objects, like neutron stars and white dwarfs
Glowing nebula left behind by dying stars
The telescope itself was launched from Kourou in French Guiana on Ariane 504 on Friday 10 December 1999. XMM-Newton is the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever built, thanks to its 58 mirrors collecting more X-rays than any other X-ray observatory to date.
The EPIC-MOS cameras on-board XMM-Newton were designed and built in the Department's Space Projects and Instrumentation group. Researchers in the X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group use XMM-Newton to observe a wide variety of astronomical sources. Part of the XMM-Newton calibration team is also based in the Department.
For further information, go to our XMM-Newton web page.
An observation of the Vela Pulsar Wind Nebula. The second image has been deconvolved to show the shock structure.