|XMM-Newton seen from Earth|
Images taken with a home made 45cm f/5.4 Newtonian.
Teamwork by an amateur astronomer and a retired
member of the European Space Agency has resulted in the first
picture of XMM-Newton seen from the Northern Hemisphere.
This picture of the satellite was taken by a secondary school physics teacher in Bellinzona, Switzerland. Working from his home-based observatory in Gnosca, a small town in the south of the country, Stefano Sposetti was able to locate XMM-Newton in the sky on 8 April with the help of an emphemeris provided by German Bruno Tilgner who retired from ESA in 1998.
Stefano Sposetti's picture of XMM-Newton was taken at 04:00
UTC using a front-illuminated CCD camera through a 40cm f/4
telescope. The exposure time was 30 seconds and the field of
view 20' x 20'. The satellite was then near its perigee at a
distance of 8440km. On the image it leaves a long trail, travelling
from the right to the left side at an angular speed of 2.4
degrees/minute. On the picture taken from Australia,
XMM-Newton was then near its apogee point of 114 000km
from Earth, leaving only a short trail visible.