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December 9, 2019 - XMM: X-Rays and Much More

XMM: X-Rays and Much More  ESA’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Newton telescope (XMM-Newton), launched 20 years ago this week, has a trio of precision telescopes for studying high-energy X-ray sources. X-rays are blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, so the only way to observe them is from a space-based telescope. XMM-Newton’s highly elliptical orbit takes it a third of the way to the Moon, allowing long, uninterrupted views of celestial objects. In addition to its X-ray capability, XMM-Newton carries an Optical Monitor, an optical/ultraviolet telescope designed to provide simultaneous observations alongside the spacecraft’s X-ray instruments. This image shows the spiral galaxy M101, also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, as seen in ultraviolet and optical wavelengths through the Optical Monitor.

Image credit: Rosemary Willatt (ESAC) and ESA, ESA/XMM-Newton, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Weekly Calendar

December 9 - 15, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 9

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 10

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

Moon phase Wednesday 11

Venus 1.8° south of Saturn

1863: Annie Jump Cannon born
1972: Apollo 17 lands on Moon
1993: Sotheby’s holds first auction of Soviet space hardware & artifacts

Moon phase Thursday 12

Full Moon 12:12 AM ET

1961: OSCAR 1 launched, first amateur radio satellite
1970: Italian ground crew becomes first to launch satellite for America, Explorer 42
2017: North Korea launches first satellite, KMS 3-2

Moon phase Friday 13

Geminid meteor shower

2001: Final drop test of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype
2018: Virgin Galactic VSS Unity reaches space

Moon phase Saturday 14

Geminid meteor shower

1546: Tycho Brahe born
1962: Mariner 2 first planet flyby (Venus)
1972: Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan becomes last human to walk on Moon
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft lands on Moondeploys Yutu rover

Moon phase Sunday 15

Mercury 5° north of Antares

1965: Gemini VI launched
1970: Venera 7 makes first landing on Venus
1984: Vega 1 launched to study Venus and Halley’s Comet
2003: National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center opens
2010: Soyuz TMA-20 launched carrying ISS Expedition 26/27 crew
2015: Soyuz TMA-19M launched carrying ISS Expedition 46/47 crew
2017: SpaceX CRS-13 launched, first flight to ISS of previously flown orbital booster and Dragon capsule

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.