One bright star

XMMM-Newton: churning papers at the speed of light

Published: Tuesday 28 February 2006

-- Observatory Europe

xmm-Newton, European Space Agency's (esa) prestigious x -ray observatory is hot property amongst scientists. After five years of operations, the mission has recently published its 1000th scientific paper,

Launched in 1999, for two years and now with its life extended to 2010, it is the biggest scientific satellite ever built in Europe. It provides observations of all kinds of astronomical objects starting from comets and planets in the Solar System up to the most distant quasars, which are observed at a time when the Universe was only 7 per cent of its current age --13,700 million years.

From the very beginning of its operations in early 2000, hundreds of scientists have been subscribing to 'book' observing time on xmm -Newton, eager to obtain data and new clues about the hidden phenomena taking place in the Universe -- mysteries like black holes, birth and death of stars and active galactic nuclei.

Each of the five calls for observation proposals issued so far towards the scientific community has resulted in being oversubscribed at least seven times. More than 1600 astronomers, an estimated 20 per cent of the world-wide astronomy researchers applied.

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