NASA’s Newest Planet Hunter TESS Snaps Its First Test Image

NASA’s Newest Planet Hunter (TESS) Snaps Its First Test Image

NASA’s newest planet hunter TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) snaps its first test image, that was launched on April 18 and flew past the Moon on May 17. The spacecraft passed about 5,000 miles from the Moon. The team snapped a two-second test exposure and they used one out of the four TESS cameras. The image discloses more than 200,000 stars which was centered on the Sothern constellation Centaurus. According to NASA TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times as much sky as shown in this image with its four cameras during its initial two-year search for exoplanets.

NASA expected that in early June, the newest planet hunter TESS will snap a science-quality test image of the night sky. It’s hoped that TESS will find about 20,000 planets beyond the Solar System, or exoplanets, concentrating on stars 30 to 300 light-years from Earth.

TESS is expected to find thousands of exoplanets. NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in 2020, will provide significant follow-up observations of some of the most promising TESS-discovered exoplanets, allowing scientists to observe their atmospheres.

This test image from one of the four cameras aboard the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) captures a swath of the southern sky along the plane of our galaxy
This test image from one of the four cameras aboard the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) captures a swath of the southern sky along the plane of our galaxy

About Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a space telescope for NASA’s Explorers program, designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method in an area 400 times larger than that covered by the Kepler mission. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

Source: NASA