Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

XMM-Newton scores 1000 top-class science results

25.01.2006


XMM-Newton, ESA’s X-ray observatory, continues its quest for the unknown. This month, after five years of operations, the mission saw the publication of its 1000th scientific paper, corresponding to an equivalent number of results, in top-class scientific journals. This is not the only record-breaking figure for this X-ray ’hunter’ mission.



There are several ways to measure the scientific success of a mission. One is certainly to look at the use the scientific community makes of the data obtained by the mission, and at the number, novelty and significance of the results so produced.

From the very beginning of its operations in early 2000, hundreds of scientists all around the world have been subscribing to ’book’ observing time with XMM-Newton, eager to obtain data and new clues about the hidden and powerful phenomena taking place in the Universe – black holes, birth and death of stars, active galactic nuclei.


Each of the five calls for observation proposals issued so far by ESA towards the scientific community, resulted in a subscription exceeding by seven times the observing slots available. More than 1600 astronomers, an estimated 20 per cent of the world-wide community, had participated to provide their ideas for using XMM-Newton to target highly energetic, exotic and still mysterious space objects.

Scientific results based on XMM-Newton data are now being published at a steady rate of almost 300 papers per year, comparable to the famous Hubble Space Telescope.

Why this huge interest in XMM-Newton? What gives the mission such a world-class profile?

The fact is that XMM-Newton’s capabilities are unprecedented and unique, with optics that are a masterpiece of engineering. Each of its three X-ray telescopes is made of 58 co-axial cylindrical mirrors, capable of reflecting X-rays coming from numerous cosmic sources onto the spacecraft special detectors. This is enabling astronomers to discover in one day more than any other X-ray mission has discovered over weeks of operations.

XMM-Newton is among the X-ray observatories with the highest spectral resolution. It is in fact with X-ray spectroscopy - the spreading of light into its components - that XMM-Newton is revealing the deepest secrets of a source, such as its chemical composition, temperature, and even its velocity.

The huge collective area of the mirrors is fundamental to obtain high-quality spectra of faint and serendipitous objects with the imaging cameras. Furthermore, with its six powerful instruments including an optical monitor with ultraviolet capabilities, this space observatory can have a look at sources in several wavelengths simultaneously.

XMM-Newton has been already unveiling many stars’ secrets. Among its discoveries, it characterised for the first time X-ray spectra and light curves of some classes of proto-stars (stars being born) and provided an unprecedented insight into the X-ray variability of the corona of stars similar to our Sun.

With its capability to respond as quickly as five hours to target-of-opportunity requests for observing elusive gamma-ray bursts, this space observatory detected for the first time an X-ray halo around the bursts, where the halo appeared as concentric ring-like structures centred on the burst location.

XMM-Newton has already shed new light on supernovae remnants, as well as on neutron stars. On the latter, an exciting discovery was that of a bow shock aligned with the supersonic motion of a neutron star (called ’Geminga’), and the detection of hot spots indicating that the configuration of neutron stars magnetic field and surface temperatures are much more complex than previously thought.

These and other fundamental discoveries on clusters of galaxies, dark matter, and the way of determining mass and spin in gigantic black holes in active galactic nuclei, are only a part of the findings obtained thanks to XMM-Newton’s data. "The mission source catalogue contains detailed information on about 50 000 new X-ray sources. This will rise up to 200 000 this year, when a new catalogue is to be released," says Norbert Schartel, ESA Project Scientist for XMM-Newton. "These top-class data are precious material for the astronomical community which is already making an extraordinary use of them."

"We are glad and proud that XMM-Newton results continue to break new ground in many scientific fields, and we are looking forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead for the mission," he concludes.

Fred Jansen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMAB0NZCIE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>