Results from Space Science ProgrammesXMM-Newton

XMM-Newton result

Credits: ESA - T. Tamura, SRON, Utrecht, NL and J. Peterson, Columbia Univ. , NY, USA

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A series of spectra extracted from the central regions of the rich galaxy clusters Abell S 1101 (Sérsic 159-03), Abell 1795 and Abell 1835 obtained by the RGS spectrometers onboard ESA's XMM-Newton observatory. The X-ray Multi Mirror observatory, XMM-Newton, was developed as the second cornerstone mission of ESA's Horizons 2000 space science plan. It carries three X-ray telescopes to provide high-throughput, broadband, medium-resolution spectrophotometry and imaging of millions of X-ray sources. Each of these telescopes is an assembly of 51 mirrors, carefully sized, formed and nested one inside another. This design makes them the most sensitive X-ray telescopes ever built. Behind the three telescopes are three CCD cameras forming the European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC), which is the mission's primary instrument. Half of the exit beams from two mirror modules are intercepted by the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS). A separate telescope, the Optical Monitor (OM), provides simultaneous coverage for pointing calibration and coordination. XMM-Newton's powerful imaging instrument, with its large collecting area, enables high-quality spectral measurements of faint sources down to 2x10 -15 erg/cm2/s, together with fast low- and medium- resolution spectroscopy of brighter objects. XMM-Newton was launched on the fourth Ariane 5 mission (V119) - and the first performed on the sole responsibility of Arianespace - on December 10, 1999, from the Ariane Launch Complex no.3 (ELA-3) of the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's space port. The 3,900-kg spacecraft was successfully injected into a highly elliptical orbit with an apogee at 114,000 km.

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