Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA's Newest Planet Hunter Telescope Shares First Science Image

NASA's Newest Planet Hunter Telescope Shares First Science Image

The image holds a myriad of constellations ranging from Capricornus to Pictor as well as both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are the galaxies nearest to ours. Created through combining the view from all four of its cameras, here is TESS' "crack of dawn", from the 1st staring at sector that can be used for making a choice on planets around other stars.

The new images utilise all four of the satellite's wide-field cameras, providing a panoramic view of the southern sky stitched together from 16 distinct images. It's part of TESS' "first light" image.

TESS could discover thousands of new planets relatively close to Earth. The astrophysics division director at NASA, Paul Hertz, said that "This first light science image shows the capabilities of TESS' cameras, and shows that the mission will realize its incredible potential in our search for another Earth".

TESS' four wide-field cameras, each with four detectors, captured this annotated "first light" image of the sky during a 30-minute period on August 7. NASA had previously shared a two-second test exposure image of space that TESS had taken with just one camera during its testing phase.

Camera BAGS, designed and manufactured by the Lincoln laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of technology Lexington, Massachusetts and the MIT Kavli Institute, control large swaths of the sky to look for so-called transits, that there are traces of the passage of the planet on background stars.

NASA unveils first science images from TESS probe’s quest to spot alien planets

TESS will spend two years monitoring of the 26 sectors of the sky for 27 days each.

Then, the following year, it will scour the northern sectors.

It detects the variations in the brightness of the distant stars to see if the planets are moving around them. Each hemisphere contains 13 sectors and, for now, TESS will focus on the Southern Hemisphere. The satellite's target stars are 30 to 300 light-years away, 30 to 100 times brighter than the targets Kepler has, which are also much further away. TESS will spend a year or so on the southern hemisphere and then work its way to the northern hemisphere, collecting an enormous amount of data and relaying it back to scientists on Earth.

The stars which become its targets are in fact 30 to 300 light years away and nearly 30 to 100 times brighter when compared to Kepler's targets which too are 300 to 3,000 light years away. It was launched in April but took some time to actually work for the science objectives. "And of course, lots of exciting exoplanet and star proposals as well".

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