ESA's Integral and XMM-Newton missions extended

Dec 07, 2005
XMM-Newton image of galaxy cluster RXCJ 0232.2-4420
XMM-Newton image of galaxy cluster RXCJ 0232.2-4420

ESA's Science Programme Committee has extended operations of the highly successful astronomical observatories Integral and XMM-Newton for four years, until 16 December 2010 and 31 March 2010 respectively.

As usual, there will be a review of the scientific performance and of the missions status in another two years' time, around autumn 2007.

The Integral gamma-ray observatory was launched on 17 October 2002, and has been providing ever since an increasingly detailed insight into some of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. These include the births and deaths of stars, supermassive black holes, neutron stars, the annihilation of matter and anti-matter, and gamma-ray bursts.

Integral is also conducting of the first detailed gamma-ray mapping of the galactic plane, and studying extra-galactic gamma-ray sources with unprecedented sensitivity.

Having already amassed a large number of scientific results and publications, the latest extension will provide even more opportunities for the scientists hoping to investigate many of the scientific issues being addressed by Integral.

With its four instruments (a gamma-ray imager and spectrometer, an X-ray monitor and an optical camera), the Integral observatory displays a unique combination of outstanding sensitivity to faint details, spectral resolution and imaging capability.

The X-ray observatory XMM-Newton was launched on 10 December 1999. Thanks to its large effective area and high throughput, it is providing important scientific results which continue to break new ground in many key areas of X-ray astrophysics.

It provides observations of all kinds of astronomical objects starting from comets and planets in our Solar System up to the most distant quasars, which are observed at a time when the Universe was only 7% of its current age (13 700 million years).

With its six instruments (three X-ray cameras, two spectrometers and a UV/Optical monitor), which operate simultaneously, the XMM-Newton observatory provides a state-of-the-art high-throughput facility featuring high spectral resolution and excellent sensitivity to provide high-quality spectra of both point and spatially extended sources.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

6 hours ago

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

6 hours ago

The SpaceX company returned to orbit Friday, launching fresh supplies to the International Space Station after more than a month's delay and setting the stage for urgent spacewalking repairs.

Recommended for you

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

9 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

9 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

11 hours ago

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

12 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...