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

first-detection-light-behind-black-holeStanford astrophysicists report first detection of light from behind a black hole 29-Jul-2021
Fulfilling a prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, researchers report the first-ever recordings of X-ray emissions from the far side of a black hole. This work was supported by the NASA NuSTAR and XMM-Newton Guest Observer programs.
Further details on Stanford News web portal.

XMM-Newton_sees_light_echo_from_behind_a_black_holeXMM-Newton sees light echo from behind a black hole 29-Jul-2021
For the first time, astronomers have seen light coming from behind a black hole. Using ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes, an international team of scientists led by Dan Wilkins of Stanford University observed extremely bright flares of X-ray light coming from around a black hole.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration web portal.

Mystery_of_what_causes_Jupiter_s_X-ray_aurorasThe mystery of what causes Jupiter’s X-ray auroras is solved 12-Jul-2021
The 40-year-old mystery of what causes Jupiter’s X-ray auroras has been solved. For the first time, astronomers have seen the entire mechanism at work – and it could be a process occurring in many other parts of the Universe too.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration web portal.

Orphan_cloud_discovered_in_galaxy_cluster_pillars MOrphan cloud discovered in galaxy cluster 29-Jun-2021
New observations made with ESA’s X-ray XMM Newton telescope have revealed an “orphan cloud” – an isolated cloud in a galaxy cluster that is the first discovery of its kind.A lot goes on in a galaxy cluster. There can be anything from tens to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity.
Further details on ESA's Science & Exploration web portal.

NorthernClump-RGB_cropped Matter highway in space makes galaxy clusters grow 28-Jun-2021
Six months ago, astronomers at the University of Bonn reported the discovery of an extremely long intergalactic gas filament with the X-ray telescope eROSITA...To do this, the researchers combined images from several sources: the SRG/eROSITA, XMM-Newton and Chandra satellites.
Further details on Argelander-Institut für Astronomie web portal.

39783small The EXTraS project: Exploring the X-ray Transient and variable Sky 25-Jun-2021
Everything flows. Time is a fundamental perception in our life. In this paper, De Luca and collaborators investigate the timing properties of ~400,000 X-ray sources found in the XMM-Newton database for over 10 years of observations.
Further details on Astronomy & Astrophysics web portal.