UK XMM Guest Observer Support 

Welcome to the UK Guest Observer Support site for the ESA X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM) mission.


This site is intended to complement ESA's own on-line information for prospective XMM observers from the UK astronomical community.  It contains: The UK Guest Observer Support activities draw upon the expertise of the two main UK participants in the XMM project, the University of Leicester (EPIC-MOS camera and the Survey Science Centre [SSC]) and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (Optical Monitor [OM], Reflection Grating Spectrometer [RGS] and the SSC).


The X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM) observatory is a cornerstone mission of ESA's horizon 2000 programme. It will be by far the most powerful X-ray observatory ever flown. The emphasis of XMM is on high-throughput spectroscopy: The observatory includes three co-aligned X-ray telescopes, each made up of 58 thin, closely packed grazing incidence mirrors which will have the EPIC and RGS detectors located at their foci. Coaligned with the three X-ray telescopes is the Optical Monitor.

See this clickable XMM schematic view of how it all fits together now linking to our new instrument pages.

The three X-ray telescopes together deliver an effective aperture of 4650 cm-2 at 1 keV (1 keV = 2.5x1017 Hz), and 2700 cm-2 at 5 keV, and a collecting area which spans the energy range between 0.1 keV and 15 keV (2x1016 to 4x1018 Hz). A typical exposure time of 30 to 50 ks will reach X-ray fluxes of approximately 10-15 erg cm-2 s-1 (0.1-10keV) - see the EPIC sensitivity plot. (Please note that the sensitivity values quoted here and the EPIC sensitivity plot are more optimistic than those given in the XMM Users' Handbook [UHB]. The UHB values are intentionally conservative whilst what we quote reflects the performance which we hope will be achieved).


The XMM observatory is equipped with three different types of scientific instrument: Full details of the instrumentation, the groups which developed them, the XMM Survey Science Centre (SSC), observation planning and proposal preparation are available from this site and the links therein. In the future as observations are made, information about data reduction and analysis techniques will also be available here. Any queries about the site may be addressed to the XMM Support teams at either Leicester ( or MSSL (

UK XMM Guest Observer Support Team Members

Leicester MSSL
Mike Watson Co-ordinator
Tim Roberts Team Leader
Helpdesk Duties
Keith Mason Co-ordinator
Liz Puchnarewicz Team Leader
Encarni Romero-Colmenero Helpdesk Duties
Stefan Collier OM Support 
Irini Sakelliou RGS Support


This site written and maintained by  Tim Roberts  at the  University of Leicester XRA group  and  Liz Puchnarewicz  and Encarni Romero Colmenero at  MSSL . Last updated: Fri Mar 5th 1999