From SRON- “Nice to see: XMM-Newton’s by-catch”


23 May 2017
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ESA/XMM Newton

Credit: ESA/XMM-Newton/ R. Saxton / A.M. Read, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The XMM-Newton X-ray telescope, carrying two Reflection Grating Spectrometers developed by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, was launched in 1999. It is orbiting earth since then. Its mission is to study high-energy phenomena in the Universe, such as black holes and neutron stars. When the telescope moves between specific target it stills collects scientific data (slews). This recent map shows 30,000 sources detected during 2114 of these slews. Some of the sources have been observed up to 15 times. After correcting for overlaps between slews, 84% of the sky has been covered. Lower energy sources are shown in red while higher energy sources are blue. The size of each source is proportional to its brightness. The centre of the plot corresponds to the centre of the Milky Way.

Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

Objects above and below the centre of the plane of our Galaxy are mostly external galaxies that are emitting X-rays from their massive black holes.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition


How did the Earth and life on it evolve? How do stars and planets evolve? How did the universe evolve? What is the position of the Earth and humankind in that immense universe? These are fundamental questions that have always intrigued humankind. Moreover, people have always possessed an urge to explore and push back the boundaries of science and technology.


Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Dutch astronomers have seen the added value of space missions for science. Reaching beyond the Earth’s atmosphere would open up new windows on the universe and provide fantastic views of our home planet. It would at last be possible to pick up cosmic radiation that never normally reached the Earth’s surface, such as X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared radiation. A wealth of scientific information from every corner of the universe would then become available.

The first Dutch scientific rocket experiments and contributions to European and American satellites in the early 1960s, formed the start of an activity in which a small country would develop an enviable reputation: scientific space research.

Groundbreaking technology

Nowadays we take for granted images of the Earth from space, beautiful photos from the Hubble Space Telescope or landings of space vehicles on nearby planets. Yet sometimes we all too easily forget that none of these scientific successes would have been possible without the people who developed groundbreaking technology. Technology that sooner or later will also prove useful to life on Earth.