Mullard Space Science Laboratory
Astrophysics Projects

Image of ROSAT in space ROSAT - Launched June 1990
The RoentgenSatellite (ROSAT) is an X-ray and EUV observatory built by a collaboration between Germany, the US and the UK. There are two X-ray instruments: the Position Sensitive Proportional Counter (PSPC) which has spectroscopic and imaging capabilities; and the High Resolution Imager (HRI) which provides soft X-ray images with about 2-3 arcseconds resolution. After 4 very successful years the PSPC has been turned off because of depletion of the detector gas supply: the HRI is still in operation.

The third instrument on ROSAT is the Wide Field Camera (WFC) which detects sources in the extreme ultra-violet; MSSL was part of the UK consortium responsible for building the WFC. Further information about the ROSAT project is provided by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Artist's impression of ISO ISO - Launched November 1995
The Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and carried a 60cm diameter mirror with four scientific instruments. MSSL was a co-investigator of one of the four instruments; the Long Wavelength Spectrometer (LWS). ISO has addressed many astrophysical topics, from our local Solar System, to stars and the media surrounding them, to galaxies and quasars and cosmological models. The Infrared Space Observatory Home Page provides more information, pictures and scientific results from ISO.

Artist's impression of XMM XMM - Launched 10th December 1999
The X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM) is an observatory developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and will provide X-ray images and spectra for the world community from about the turn of the millenium. XMM has been designed to last for ten years, and will be used to probe very hot plasmas (temperatures in the range of millions to hundreds of millions of degrees). Such plasmas are found, for example, in interacting binary stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies and in quasars. Please visit the UK's XMM web site for more information and a description of the mission.

MSSL is involved with building two of the three instruments on XMM, the Optical Monitor and the Reflection Grating Spectrometer.

Artist's impression of Spectrum
X-Gamma Spectrum X-Gamma - Due for launch 1999
The astrophysical observatory SPECTR-RG is a joint space project of more than twelve countries being built under the leadership of the Space Research Institute (IKI) in Moscow. MSSL is part of the consortium building the Jet-X instrument for Spectrum X-Gamma: visit the Jet-X pages at MSSL for more information.

Blueball bullet For more information about these projects and our current Astrophysics research on binary stars, quasars, the cosmological X-ray background and faint X-ray emitting galaxies, visit the Astrophysics group's home page.

The following provide links to the projects of the four scientific research groups at MSSL:

Four scientific 
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