NASA / MIT / TESS
- NASA has released the first image of its new space telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
- TESS was able to discover thousands of new planets that were relatively close to the earth.
- The telescope began its mission on July 25, and it will scan 85% of the night sky for two years.
- Scientists hope that TESS will find about 50 small, rocky planets that can be habitable for extraterrestrial life.
NASA has released the first image of its new space telescope.
TESS, short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, helps scientists to detect and study new planets in other solar systems.
The telescope was launched in April on a SpaceX rocket and on July 25th TESS slipped into a unique orbit between the earth and the moon.
The telescope now scans the night sky, scars distant solar systems and chases small, rocky, earthy planets.
NASA has just released the first scientific image that Tess had recorded, although it was actually taken in early August. The image above is only part of the complete image – the light part is on the right the Large Magellanic Cloud, while the bright star R Doradus is on the left.
The entire image captured a much larger part of the southern sky. The detailed image was produced for 30 minutes using all four spacecraft cameras of the spacecraft the section above shows the image captured by a single detector from one of its cameras. (That should give you an idea of how powerful the entire telescope is.)
The image below shows more of the "first light" image of TESS. Striking features are the large and small Magellanic clouds. The brightest stars in the picture, Beta Gruis and R Doradus, saturated a whole column of camera detector pixels on the second and fourth cameras of the satellite.
NASA / MIT / TESS
"This first scientific light image shows the capabilities of TESS cameras and shows that the mission will realize its incredible potential in our search for another earth. "Paul Hertz, director of the astrophysics department at NASA, said in a statement.
NASA plans to keep 85% of the air in the air for the next two years, with the focus on a new sector every 27 days. TESS will study 13 sectors in the southern sky during the first year, followed by 13 sectors in the northern sky in the second year. By the end of that period, TESS is expected to have around 200,000 stars.
To hunt for planets, the telescope will look for changes in the brightness level of a star – an indication that a planet passes for the star as part of its orbit.
Scientists expect data from TESS to reveal thousands of new planets that are within 200 light years of the Earth. The team working on TESS even hopes to find about 50 small, rocky planets that could be habitable for extraterrestrial life.
Sara Seager, the science director for TESS, told Business Insider that she is expected to find dozens of Earth-like planets in the coming years, which could double the current list of potentially inhabitable exoplanets.
NASA has previously hunted exoplanets with the Kepler space telescope and detected thousands of them in a small part of the night sky. But Kepler has almost without fuel and is currently in sleep mode.
TESS will scan a much larger part of the sky than Kepler did – and one that is closer to the earth.
"We have learned from Kepler that there are more planets than stars in our sky, and now TESS will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the closest stars," said Hertz in a press release from April. "TESS will throw a larger network than ever before for enigmatic worlds."
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