Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

The TESS telescope has detected its first exoplanet

The TESS telescope has detected its first exoplanet

NASA has just shared the very first "science image" captured by its newest exoplanet hunting telescope called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

"The discovery of a terrestrial planet around a nearby M dwarf during the first TESS observing sector suggests that the prospects for future discoveries are bright".

The two newest planets, which still need to be reviewed by other researchers, offer the chance for follow-up study, officials said.

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) officially began scouring the sky for exoplanets last month.

Scientists hope TESS will find about 50 small, rocky planets that could be habitable to alien life. This "first light" science image captures a wealth of stars and other objects, including systems previously known to have exoplanets.

TESS was launched April 18 from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and is now ensconced in a looping orbit of the Earth that takes it all the way out to the moon and then back close to Earth to dump its data. The detailed image was produced using all four of the spacecraft's wide-field cameras for 30 minutes, while the portion above shows the view captured by a single detector of one of its cameras.

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The cameras recorded dozens of constellations, in particular, the photo shows the closest to our galaxy and the Large and Small Magellanic clouds.

"This first light science image shows the capabilities of TESS's cameras, and shows that the mission will realise its incredible potential in our search for another Earth", said Hertz.

TESS acquired the images using all four cameras during a 30-min period on August 7, 2018.

Even though TESS might have caught a glimpse of a planet almost disintegrating, it will have many chances of seeing other planets for the next years. During that time, it monitors the stars it sees for changes in brightness, which may be associated with dips in the light received as a planet passes in front of its parent star. The NovaSAR and S1-4 took flight from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR. Pi Mensae was one of several hundred thousand pre-selected stars TESS has earmarked for further investigation, no doubt due, in part, to the discovery of a massive Jupiter-type planet that had already been spotted orbiting this unusually bright star back in 2001.

Kepler has offered useful information for nearly a decade and although the initial mission was planned to take 3,5 years, more than 9 years passed since the observatory started its first mission.

"And of course, lots of exciting exoplanet and star proposals as well".

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