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XMM-Newton Education and Public Outreach
Sonoma State University Education and Public Outreach Goddard Space Flight Center Sonoma State University Education and Public Outreach

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 of galaxies.

  • 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 supernova remnants.

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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