skip to content
XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility

XMM-Newton is 20 years old!

This year we are celebrating a milestone anniversary of XMM-Newton (XMM), which was launched 1999 December 10 from Kourou, French Guiana. Worldwide interest in the mission remains high, while continued improvements in observation flexibility, software, and calibration provide steady support for guest observers:

  • XMM data have been used in over 5,900 refereed papers.
  • Recent science highlights include: studies of the missing baryons in the Universe, the X-ray chimney connecting the galactic center to the Fermi bubbles, detecting relativistic reverberation and QPOs in tidal disruption events, and discovering a new ULX pulsar class.
  • XMM's source catalogs are growing in value as deeper, wide-field multiwavelength surveys become available.
  • Large serendipitous and slew catalogs are increasingly robust.
  • More than 5,000 scientists have used XMM.
  • XMM has detected over a half million X-ray sources.

Anniversary Video: Scientists who received their PhDs using XMM-Newton discuss X-ray astronomy, their inspiration, and ways that XMM-Newton has impacted their careers.

The XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility

XMM-Newton, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is the second cornerstone of the Horizon 2000 program of the European Space Agency (ESA). XMM-Newton was launched on December 10 1999 at 14:32 GMT (09:32 EST). The observatory consists of three coaligned high throughput 7.5m focal length telescopes with 6 arc second FWHM (15 arc second HPD) angular resolution. With its large collecting area and X-ray and optical/UV bands, XMM greatly facilitates studies of objects ranging from clusters of galaxies to compact objects, and their inherent physical attibutes.

Besides having funded elements of the XMM-Newton instrument package, NASA also provides the NASA Guest Observer Facility (GOF) at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and funds a Guest Observer (GO) program to support the usage of XMM by the U.S. scientific community. The GOF provides a clearing house for project-generated technical information and analysis software as well as budget support for U.S. astronomers who apply for XMM-Newton observation time.

  • The US GOF plays a vital role in the compilation of the XMM Science Analysis System (SAS) and supports US GOs in their installation and use of SAS.
  • The GOF has developed accurate and precise algorithms for modeling the EPIC particle background in the Extended Source Analysis Software (ESAS) SAS tools.
  • The GOF continues to streamline data reduction.

XMM-Newton images over a 30 arc minute field of view with moderate spectral resolution. The European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) observes in the 0.2-12 keV band and consists of two MOS and one PN CCD arrays. High-resolution spectral information (E/dE~300 from 0.4-2.5 keV) is provided by the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) that deflects half of the beam on two of the X-ray telescopes. The observatory also has a coaligned 30 cm optical/UV telescope, the Optical Monitor (OM). More detailed information on the instruments can be found under Focal Plane Instrumentation in these pages and in the XMM-Newton Users' Handbook (GSFC or ESAC links).

These pages are intended for members of the scientific community. For members of the general public, or those interested in general astronomy/astrophysics information please go to our Education and Public Outreach site.

Latest News - Rev. 3731
  • XMM-Newton AO-20 Solicitation Released (18 Aug 2020)
    XMM-Newton observing proposals are solicited in response to the Twentieth Announcement of Opportunity.
  • XMM-Newton AO-19 Results Released (3 Dec 2019)
    The list of XMM-Newton observing proposals accepted by the AO-19 Observing Time Allocation Committee is now available.
  • XMM-Newton AO-19 Solicitation Released (20 Aug 2019)
    XMM-Newton observing proposals are solicited in response to the Nineteenth Announcement of Opportunity.
  • RSS [What is this?]

    More News

    Useful Links

    If you have any questions concerning XMM-Newton send e-mail to

    This file was last modified on Thursday, 19-Nov-2020 14:33:46 EST
    Curator:Michael Arida (ADNET);

    NASA Astrophysics

  • FAQ/Comments/Feedback
  • Education Resources
  • Download Adobe Acrobat
  • A service of the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC

    XMM-Newton Project Scientist: Dr. Kim Weaver

    Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman

    Privacy Policy and Important Notices.