XMM Users' Handbook

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XMM - a concise overview

XMM is the second of ESA's four ``cornerstone'' missions defined in the Horizon 2000 Programme. Its scheduled launch date is 2000 January 21. It will carry two distinct types of telescopes: three Wolter type-1 X-ray telescopes, with different X-ray detectors in their foci (which are described in this chapter), and a 30-cm optical/UV telescope with a microchannel-plate pre-amplified CCD detector in its focal plane (see also below). Thus, XMM offers simultaneous access to two windows of the electromagnetic spectrum: X-ray and optical/UV.

Figure 1: Sketch of the XMM payload. The mirror modules, two of which are equipped with Reflection Grating Arrays, are visible at the lower left. At the right end of the assembly, the focal X-ray instruments are shown: The EPIC MOS cameras with their radiators (black/green ``horns''), the radiator of the EPIC pn camera (violet) and those of the (light blue) RGS detectors (in pink). The OM telescope (orange) is obscured by the lower mirror module. Figure courtesy of Dornier Satellitensysteme GmbH.
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XMM provides the following three types of science instruments:

European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC)

3 CCD cameras for X-ray imaging, moderate resolution spectroscopy, and X-ray photometry; the two different types of EPIC cameras, MOS and pn, are described in § 3.3. XMM will carry 2 MOS cameras and one pn.

Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS)

2 essentially identical spectrometers for high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy and spectro-photometry (§ 3.4).

Optical Monitor (OM)

for optical/UV imaging and grism spectroscopy; § 3.5 provides an overview.

The three EPIC cameras and the two detectors of the RGS spectrometers reside in the focal planes of the X-ray telescopes, while the OM has its own telescope. A sketch of the XMM payload is displayed in Fig. 1. There are in total six science instruments onboard XMM, which are operated simultaneously (unless prohibited by constraints, like e.g., excessive target brightness). The instruments can be operated independently and each in different modes of data acquisition. Observers will receive data from all science instruments.

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Next: Basic characteristics Up: XMM Users' Handbook Previous: How to obtain further
European Space Agency - XMM Science Operations Centre