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XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility



    About XMM-Newton

    XMM-Newton, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is the second cornerstone of the Horizon 2000 program of the European Space Agency (ESA) and was launched on December 10 1999. The observatory consists of three coaligned high throughput 7.5m focal length telescopes with 6 arc second FWHM (15 arc second HPD) angular resolution. XMM-Newton provides images over a 30 arc minute field of view with moderate spectral resolution using the European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC), which consists of two MOS and one PN CCD arrays. High-resolution spectral information (E/dE~300) 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 30cm optical/UV telescope called 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 SOC links).

    Participation by U.S. astronomers in the XMM-Newton guest-observer program is welcomed and supported by a Guest Observer Facility (GOF) at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The GOF will provide a clearing house for project-generated technical information and analysis software, as well as user and proposal support on the US side of the Atlantic. The scientific proposal process is organized and run by ESA.

    What's in a name?

    Following in Newton's footsteps.

    The European Space Agency has decided to honour one of the world's most illustrious scientists by giving the name of Isaac Newton to the XMM mission, the XMM-Newton observatory.

    The work of Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in the field of mathematics, optics and physics laid the foundations for modern science. He made a major impact on theoretical and practical astronomy and today one cannot evoke an apple, a reflecting telescope, a light-splitting prism and or a sextant without recalling Newton's contributions to science.

    "We have chosen this name because Sir Isaac Newton was the man who invented spectroscopy and XMM is a spectroscopy mission" explains Prof. Roger Bonnet ESA Director of Science. "The name of Newton is associated with the falling apple, which is the symbol of gravity and with XMM I hope that we will find a large number of black hole candidates which are of course associated with the theory of gravity. There was no better choice of name than XMM-Newton for this mission".

    The pages referenced above have been liberally adapted from various pages of the XMM-Newton consortium, primarily from those of the VILSPA XMM-Newton SOC. HTML references back to the original and official documents have been provided.

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