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. The mission extension has been approved until the end of 2014.
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.

IASF-Bologna gave a significant contribution to the design, study, and realization of the EPIC cameras, in particular at the level of EGSE and ground+in-flight calibrations. Today, several scientists at IASF-Bo are using and analysing XMM-Newton data to try understand enigmatic X-ray sources such as Gamma-Ray Bursts, X-ray binaries and Active Galactic Nuclei.

Read more about the spacecraft, mirrors and instruments and about XMM-Newton, including its latest News and Highlights.