AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 34. A New Era in X-ray Astronomy
Topical Session Oral, Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, Lilac Ballroom

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[34.04] XMM-Newton's Optical/Ultraviolet Monitor Telescope

F. A. Cordova (UCSB), K. O. Mason (MSSL), W. C. Priedhorsky (LANL), XMM OM Team

The inclusion of the Optical/Ultraviolet Monitor telescope (OM) on the XMM-Newton satellite realizes a decades-old dream of a multiwavelength observing capability in space; it represents an elegant alternative to cumbersome multiwavelength campaigns, assures simultaneous monitoring of rapidly variable high-energy sources, and significantly expands the discovery potential of this ESA cornerstone mission. The OM affords an additional important advantage, namely, an opportunity to observe the universe in the ultraviolet, including making a pilot survey of faint ultraviolet galaxies.

OM consists of a 30 cm Ritchey-Chretien telescope feeding a compact image-intensified photon-counting detector. The detector operates in the UV and the blue region of the optical spectrum. Its wavelength coverage spans 170 nm to 550 nm, and its field of view is well-matched to that of the X-ray CCD cameras. The spatial pixel size is 1 arcsecond in normal mode, and the limiting sensitivity is B=24 for a star viewed in white light. Spectral resolution is achieved by the use of broad and narrow-band filters contained within a filter wheel; there are also two grisms in the filter wheel for low resolution spectroscopy.

The Optical Monitor was built by a consortium of institutes from the UK, the USA and Belgium. USA institutions (University of California at Santa Barbara, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories) contributed digital electronics units hardware and software.

The talk will present an updated status of the recently-commissioned OM, and highlight the scientific goals and planned observing programs.

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