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N° 76–2000: A year after lift-off, XMM-Newton is impressing the X-ray astronomy community

23 November 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.

XMM-Newton was launched from Kourou on 10 December 1999 on the first Ariane-5 commercial flight. After in-orbit commissioning of the spacecraft, and calibration and performance verification of its science instruments, the observatory entered its routine operations phase on 1 July.

At the press conference, ESA's Director of Science Prof. Roger-Maurice Bonnet and XMM-Newton Project Scientist Fred Jansen will present some of the many scientific results from the first eight months of the mission. Also present will be two of Europe's foremost X-ray astronomers, Prof. Johan Bleeker of the Space Research Organisation of the Netherlands, and Prof. Guenther Hasinger of the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Germany.

Amongst the topics to be illustrated with some remarkably vivid "colour" images of the X-ray Universe, will be XMM-Newton's first examination of a cataclysmic binary star, its first insights into some enigmatic black hole systems, analysis of the morphology of a few supernovae remnants, and evidence it has collected to end the long-standing mystery over X-ray cosmic background emission...

The press conference will also recap on the spacecraft's operations, the performance of its science instruments, the issue of radiation constraints and future aspects of the mission.

Media representatives wishing to attend the press event are kindly invited to complete the attached reply form and fax it back to ESA Media Relations Office +33(0)1.53.69.7690. Note to editors XMM-Newton is ESA's second Cornerstone Mission of the Horizon 2000 programme. The spacecraft was built by a European consortium of companies led by Astrium (formerly Dornier Satellitensysteme), Friedrichshafen, Germany. Its X-ray imaging and spectrographic instruments (EPIC and RGS) and its optical telescope (OM) were provided by large consortia, whose principal investigators are from, respectively, the University of Leicester, UK, SRON University of Utrecht Netherlands, and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UK.

For further information please contact:

ESA - Communication Department

Media Relations Office

Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155

Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

Dr Fred Jansen, XMM Project Scientist

ESA - Estec (Noordwijk, The Netherlands)

Tel: +31 71 565 4426

Email: fjansen@astro.estec.esa.nl

For further information on XMM visit the ESA science web pages at http://sci.esa.int/xmm

For further information on ESA visit: http://www.esa.int

Public Relations Offices


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