Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home | Satellites and Data |

The X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton)

Credit: NASA

The European Space Agency's X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) was launched by Ariane 504 on December 10 1999. XMM-Newton is ESA's second cornerstone of the Horizon 2000 Science Program. It carries 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.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: December 1999 - (nominal 10 year mission)
* Energy Range: 0.1-15 keV
* Special Features: Very large collecting area.
Simultaneous X-ray & Optical observations.
* Payload:
  • Three co-aligned Wolter Type I grazing incidence gold-coated imaging X-ray telescopes each with an effective area of ~ 1500 cm2 @ 1 keV Spatial resolution 6" FWHM. There are three type of instruments :

    • European Photon Imaging Camera
      Metal-Oxide-Silicon (EPIC-MOS; 0.1-15 keV; 2 units)
      The EPIC-AMOS are mounted under two telescopes and are used for spectro-imaging. Each units consist of an array of 7 CCDs and each CCD is 600 X 600 pixels
      FOV 33 ´ X 33 ´
      spectral resolution (E/dE) ~ 20-50
      Eff area 922 cm2 @ 1keV

    • European Photon Imaging Camera-PN
      (0.1-15 keV; 1 unit)
      This is an array of 12 CCDs (64 X 200 pixels each) used for spectro-imaging
      FOV 27.5 ´ X 27.5 ´
      spectral resolution (E/dE) ~ 20-50
      Eff area 1227 cm2 @ 1keV

    • Reflection Grating Spectrometer
      (RGS; 0.35-2.5 keV two units) + EPIC-MOS
      The gratings, mounted under two telescopes, deflect about 50% of the X-ray light onto an array of 9 EPIC-MOS CCD detectors.
      Line density ~645 lines mm-1 at the center
      Spectral resolution (E/dE) 200-800
      Eff area 185 cm2 1 keV
      FOV 5´

  • Optical Monitor (OM; 180-650 nm)
    co-aligned 30 cm optical/UV telescope. FOV ~17´, ~1" spatial resolution.

[XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility] (

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index