News archive

News archive

The Call for Proposals to use guest observer time on ESA's forthcoming gamma-ray observatory has resulted in 291 individual proposals. These represent approximately 323 million seconds - more than 10 years - of observing time! This is 19 times greater than all the open time available during the first half of the nominal two-year mission.
Published: 28 February 2001
One must admit that spectra, the many-varied curves that plot the number of photons and their energy, appear to be rather uninspiring to the layman; nothing worse than a graph. But like one's body temperature curve, they mean a lot.
Published: 27 February 2001
After the recommendations of a first review last July of XMM-Newton science operations, ESA's Director of Science has congratulated all those involved for greatly improving the mission's efficiency, particularly the management of the X-ray observatory's observations.
Published: 22 February 2001
Although a space telescope will, and should, be remembered mainly for its discoveries, its technology and the way it was operated also provide invaluable information for the future. Last week, scientists met to discuss and analyse in detail this other less obvious legacy left by ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, a pioneer in infrared space astronomy. Future missions will certainly learn from both the successes and the 'could-have-done-better' aspects, said the representatives from the next ESA, NASA and Japanese infrared space telescopes at a workshop in Spain. Thanks to ISO, there are now more than a hundred new well-understood infrared sources for calibration, including asteroids and planets.
Published: 19 February 2001
An extra facility has been added to the network of ground stations used to control XMM-Newton. In addition to Perth and Kourou, flight controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt are now also using a station in Santiago, Chile, to communicate with the spacecraft and receive its science data.
Published: 15 February 2001
With a spacecraft behaving admirably, a greatly improved efficiency in managing observations, and the extremely high-quality science data being returned, members of the XMM-Newton Science Working Team (SWT), who met in Spain on 23-24 January, were justifiably happy. Attendance was exceptional for this last SWT in its present form.
Published: 1 February 2001
Luminous starburst galaxies are where a lot of young stars are currently forming. They come in two different varieties: starbursts where the star creation is spread evenly throughout the galaxy and those where it is concentrated at its nucleus. Sometimes activity at the centre is so intense that fantastic 'bubbles' are created giving rise to streams of hot gas, or 'superwinds'. XMM-Newton has recently gained new insights into one such starburst galaxy, NGC 253.
Published: 29 January 2001
The first issue this year of the European scientific journal "Astronomy and Astrophysics" has just been published. It is a 352-page bumper edition devoted entirely to ESA's XMM-Newton mission with no less than 56 papers describing the spacecraft, its instruments and particularly the scientific results that have been obtained since the X-ray observatory was launched just over a year ago.
Published: 25 January 2001
About 150 cosmologists and astrophysicists will meet from 30 January until 2 February at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) inNoordwijk, the Netherlands, to discuss the scientific programme of ESA'snext mission to study the origin of the Universe, the Planck satellite.
Published: 23 January 2001
With 460 days before the launch set for April next year, members ofthe INTEGRAL Science Working Team have met to review all issues ofESA's gamma-ray mission. Integration of the spacecraft is proceedingat Alenia, construction of the Proton rocket has started in Russiaand the science teams with instruments still to deliver are doingtheir utmost to overcome development difficulties and meet theschedule.
Published: 21 January 2001
The first 'ringed molecule' found around starsLife as we know it is based on the ability of the carbon atom to form ring-shaped molecules. But rings of carbon are not exclusive to Earth, as experts in space chemistry now know. A Spanish team of astronomers that observed with ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) report this week the first detection in interstellar space of benzene, the ring molecule par excellence. They think benzene is produced by stars at a specific stage of evolution, and that it is an essential chemical step towards the synthesis of more complex organic molecules whose true nature is still unclear -although their fingerprints are very conspicuous in the Universe. In industry, benzene is obtained from petroleum and has many uses.
Published: 21 January 2001
The Andromeda galaxy (M31), only 2.6 million light years away, is an ideal field of study for X-ray astronomy. XMM-Newton has observed its galactic centre, revealing many new point sources and the probable presence of a very hot diffuse gas which contributes to the overal X-ray luminosity.
Published: 14 December 2000
Whilst producing impressive science results, ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra X-ray observatories have been weathering a truly harsh space environment. Radiation, which can hinder observations and even damage sensitive detectors aboard the two spacecraft has, at times, exceeded expected levels. During a three-day XMM-Newton workshop held at the mission's Science Operations Centre at VILSPA at the end of November, scientists have exchanged their findings and solutions to safeguard their missions.
Published: 11 December 2000
A year after launch, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory is fully living up to its promise with a steady stream of fascinating data. To mark the anniversary and to present the first sample of the mission's scientific results, the media are invited to a press conference to be held at European Space Agency headquarters in Paris on 6 December.
Published: 23 November 2000
Gamma-ray astronomers and astrophysicists the world over are today being solicited for Guest Observer proposals using ESA's Integral observatory. The European Space Agency officially issued its Announcement of Opportunity (AO-1) on 1st November.
Published: 6 November 2000
The long standing uncertainty over the origins of the X-ray background (XRB) may perhaps be a thing of the past. XMM-Newton observations are backing up the view that this faint glow of X-rays pervading the cosmos comes essentially from many individual but so-far undetected celestial objects and not just from the hot environment within galaxies.
Published: 2 November 2000
Twenty-one young European students from six countries have visited the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at Villafranca, Spain. The 16-18 year olds were participants in the XMM-Newton "Stargazing" competition held earlier this year.
Published: 29 October 2000
ESA's ISO Archive celebrates its 1000th userCyberspace is increasingly breaking the frontiers of space and time... in the most universal sense. The Internet provides astronomers with quick short cuts to the most distant places in the Universe. Simply by allowing free access through the web to the images and data gathered by powerful telescopes, light that has travelled many thousand million years is now at your fingertips. A rapidly growing number of researchers are currently using this new resource, and in the process making valuable 'stored-up' discoveries. ESA's ISO (Infrared Space Observatory) Archive - one of the youngest of these astronomical databases - has recently celebrated the registration of 'user number 1000', who happens to be a young Spanish astronomer. He is convinced that "web-accessible databases are completely changing the way we do astronomy".
Published: 25 October 2000
Ominously-named "Cataclysmic Variables" - CVs for short - are not the kind of solar systems one would like to approach. End points of stellar evolution, they are binary systems in which one star is sucking material out of its partner. They revolve around each other very rapidly, typically every few hours. CVs can also exhibit outbursts on the time scale of weeks to months. XMM-Newton has been observing one such cataclysmic variable, named OY Car.
Published: 19 October 2000
ESA XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, launched last December and now in its routine phase of observations, has a field of view large enough that whilst observing known targets it is also registering X-ray emission from many other objects in the neighbouring area of the sky.
Published: 19 October 2000
13-Apr-2024 12:58 UT

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