The XMM Newton observatory, the second cornerstone of the Horizon 2000 science programme of the European Space Agency, was launched on the 10th December 1999.

XMM Newton is the most powerful observatory in hard X-rays, opening an almost unexplored window to the Universe. The sensitivity to hard X-rays (not attained by previous missions like Einstein and ROSAT) will allow the detection and study of the most energetic objects in the Universe. Most of these are deeply hidden inside large amounts of absorbing gas and inconspicuous at virtually all other wavelengths.

A major goal of XMM is to identify the origin of the hard X-ray background whose energy content dominates over the soft X-ray background previously studied with Einstein and ROSAT.

During a typical science observation, XMM Newton will discover ~250 new X-ray sources and add to the XMM Newton serendipitous survey at an expected rate of 50000-100000 new sources per year. The XMM Newton Survey Science Centre (SSC) was appointed by ESA to exploit scientifically the XMM Newton serendipitous survey for the benefit of the scientific community and as a major legacy of XMM Newton to future generations. This is being tackled by the SSC consortium in terms of an (mostly ground-based) X-ray follow-up and identification (XID) programme.

The goal of the XID programme is to exploit fully the XMM Newton serendipitous sky survey. Its implementation has been divided into two parts:

Last modified 10th March 2000
Text based on AXIS proposal by X.Barcons and the SSC consortium.
Page designed by J.Verdon
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