The X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM) was the second “cornerstone” in the “Horizon 2000” programme by the European Space Agency (ESA). Renamed XMM-Newton in honour of the great British physicist Sir Isaac Newton, it represents the most important European contribution to astronomy in the X-ray band.

The satellite was launched on December 10th, 1999 from Kourou (French Guyana), with a 504 Ariane vector. It is equipped with three X-ray telescopes with an unprecedented collection area and a visible-band telescope. Thanks to its great sensitivity and the possibility to carry out long, uninterrupted observations, it’s an extremely powerful instrument for astronomy in the X-ray band ranging from 0,2 to 10 keV.

In cooperation with other European institutes and with the contribution of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) developed the European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC), the main XMM-Newton instrument. EPIC consists of three independent CCD detectors, placed on the focal plane of the tree XMM telescopes. The INAF was in charge of the AIV process of the instrument, and actively contributed to nearly all the stages of the development of EPIC, from designing to ground calibration.

Starting from the launch, XMM-Newton discovered hundreds of thousands of X-ray sources, many of which were studied in an extremely detailed manner from a spectral and temporal point of view. XMM is providing a very important contribution to solve several unresolved problems in the field of astrophysics, from black hole physics to the origin of the Universe. XMM observation time is made available to the scientific community through a yearly competitive call.

‣ News


Italy, France and Germany signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the ‘SPACEFOUNDERS’ European program ‣

The Italian Space Agency (ASI), the French Space Agency (CNES) and the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich (UniBW) are committed to cooperating for ”SpaceFounders”, the European New Space accelerator launched in 2021 by CNES with UniBw MORE...

FRIDAY 12 MAY 2023

The fjords of Greenland observed by PRISMA ‣

The images shown on this page are elaborations of the visible and infrared bands of an acquisition over Greenland in May 2021 MORE...


The desertification of the Aral Sea ‣

This composition is obtained by processing a PRISMA image acquired in January 2021 on the Aral Sea area MORE...


JUICE is en route to unveil Jupiter’s secrets and Italy is onboard ‣

The European space science mission JUICE successfully launched into space.  State-of-the-art instruments developed and funded by the Italian Space Agency are featured aboard the probe. The Italian Agency has coordinated the participation in Juice of several entities, enterprises, and other national space agencies MORE...


Rivers in the tropical forest observed by PRISMA ‣

Iguazu Falls area observed by the Italian satellite MORE...