Prof Mike Watson

photoProfessor of High Energy Astrophysics

Contact details

Tel: 0116 252 3553


Office: Room G18, Physics and Astronomy Building

Personal details

  • BA (Hons, Oxford)
  • MA(Oxford)
  • MSc (Sussex)
  • PhD (Leicester)

I started my academic career at the University of Oxford where I obtained a BA in Physics, before moving to the University of Sussex to do the MSc in Astronomy, followed by a PhD at the University of Leicester under the supervision of Prof. Ken Pounds.

The rest of my career has been spent at Leicester, apart from a two-year SRC fellowship held at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I was appointed to a personal chair at Leicester in 2003. I'm the Survey Scientist for ESA's XMM-Newton mission and am currently Head of the X-ray and Observational Astronomy (XROA) Group in the department.

Project roles and professional activities

  • Survey Scientist for ESA's XMM-Newton mission.
  • PI of the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre, an international collaboration playing a key role in the mission science.
  • Leicester PI for the ARCHES and EXTraS EU projects funded under FP7
  • Member of the Athena Coordination Group and chair of the Athena Ground System Working Group
  • Member of STFC's HPC Oversight Committee


  • Dynamics (PA1110)
  • Advanced Study Project (PA4440; module leader)
  • Third and fourth year projects and group research projects (opt.392, PA4970, opt.394)


  • Nebot Gómez-Morán A., et al., The XMM-Newton SSC survey of the Galactic plane Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013) 553:A12- DOI for this publication
  • Mateos S., Alonso-Herrero A., Carrera F. J., Blain A., Watson M. G., Barcons X., Braito V., Severgnini P., Donley J. L., Stern D., Using the Bright Ultrahard XMM-Newton survey to define an IR selection of luminous AGN based on WISE colours Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2012) 426:3271-3281  DOI for this publication
  • Pineau F.-X., Motch C., Carrera F., Della Ceca R., Derrière S., Michel L., Schwope A., Watson M. G., Cross-correlation of the 2XMMi catalogue with Data Release 7 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Astronomy and Astrophysics (2011) 527:A126-  DOI for this publication
  • Finoguenov A., et al., X-ray groups and clusters of galaxies in the Subaru-XMM Deep Field Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2010) 403:2063-2076  DOI for this publication
  • Watson M. G., et al., The XMM-Newton serendipitous survey. V. The Second XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue Astronomy and Astrophysics (2009) 493:339-373  DOI for this publication
  • Ueda Y., et al., The Subaru/XMM-Newton Deep Survey (SXDS). III. X-Ray Data The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (2008) 179:124-141  DOI for this publication
  • Barcons X., et al., The XMM-Newton serendipitous survey. IV. Optical identification of the XMM-Newton medium sensitivity survey (XMS) Astronomy and Astrophysics (2007) 476:1191-1203  DOI for this publication


    Full list of publications 2008-2014


    My research interests focus on observational X-ray astronomy and include:

    • Accreting systems (cataclysmic variables, X-ray binaries); galactic X-ray source populations
    • Starburst galaxies; extragalactic X-ray surveys: AGN populations, clusters of galaxies

    Other research-related interests: space projects, large-scale data processing projects, survey astronomy, the Virtual Observatory and related e-science issues.

  • Share this page:

    Contact Details

    Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
    Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

    Department of Physics & Astronomy,
    University of Leicester,
    University Road,
    Leicester, LE1 7RH,
    United Kingdom.


    For current students and general enquiries within UoL:

    For Postgraduate Research enquiries:

    For general enquiries outside UoL:


    DisabledGo logo

    The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Physics and Astronomy Building.