XMM-Newton Science Goals
Two of the key scientific questions that astronomers hope XMM-Newton
will help answer are:
When and where are the chemical elements created? All the hydrogen and
helium in the Universe were created by the Big Bang, but virtually all the
other elements were created by nuclear processes inside stars.
XMM-Newton can reveal the details of this creation by probing
the amount of oxygen, silicon, iron, and other elements in nearby stars,
supernova remnants in our Galaxy and its neighbors, and in distant clusters
How does nature heat gas to X-ray emitting temperatures? X-rays are only
created at extreme temperatures, or through very high-energy processes.
XMM-Newton's sensitive measurements will help scientists
explain how gases are heated to these extraodinary energies in the corona of
a star, and how cosmic ray particles are accelerated in young
The observing program for the first 18 months of the mission included
hundreds of X-ray sources of various types. The first months were spent
calibrating the instruments, and verifying that all of them were performing
without major problems. This has been checked for all the X-ray instruments.
For information about the science being performed by XMM-Newton,
check out Recent News section.
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