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Planet-hunting probe captures first image


Posted on Sunday, 20 May, 2018 | Comment icon 19 comments

The image shows the southern constellation Centaurus. Image Credit: NASA/MIT/TESS
NASA's new spacecraft has returned a breathtaking two-second exposure which features over 200,000 stars.
Designed to carry on where the Kepler Space Telescope left off, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched in to space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket back on April 18th.

The new photograph, which was taken as a test of one of the probe's four cameras, shows only a small fraction of the total area of sky that it will be able to scan when operations begin next month.

Once it gets going, scientists hope that TESS will find thousands of previously undiscovered extrasolar planets including many potentially habitable worlds in neighboring solar systems.

The most promising candidates will become targets for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.

"TESS will be the first space-based, all-sky surveyor to search for exoplanets - planets outside of our own solar system," NASA wrote on its website.

"However, the spacecraft isn't looking for just any planets. It's specifically searching for those that are Earth-like, and close enough to our own celestial neighborhood that scientists can study them further."

A higher resolution version of the new TESS image can be viewed - here.


Source: Engadget | Comments (19)

Tags: TESS, Exoplanet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 May, 2018, 11:55
NASA’s New Planet Hunter Snaps Initial Test Image, Swings by Moon Toward Final Orbit  
Comment icon #11 Posted by bmk1245 on 19 May, 2018, 12:13
Just amazing.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 19 May, 2018, 12:20
Two seconds exposure Imagine sort of Hubble's 10 days thingy
Comment icon #13 Posted by bmk1245 on 19 May, 2018, 12:24
Dammit, I'm already aroused to the limits, don't bring Hubble into the picture...
Comment icon #14 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 19 May, 2018, 18:11
It's maybe totally different piece of equipment in question but comparison is always divine thing.
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin on 21 May, 2018, 16:01
Ya know, the amount of stars and galaxies in the "observable universe" just blows me away. All beginning from a suggested "singularity" with incomprehensible energy. Wow. Just wow.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Tom the Photon on 22 May, 2018, 10:45
Too true.  Estimated stars in an average galaxy (our own, the Milky Way): 200 thousand million. Estimated galaxies in the observable universe: 100 thousand million. (Estimated galaxies in the universe beyond the observable: utterly meaningless speculation, but I reckon about 42.) So that's about 2x1022 stars out there.  If they have an average of 5 planets each that's 1023 planets, or twelve million million for each human on Earth.  Plenty of places for those pesky Grays to hide when they're not out anally-probing innocent Americans!
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 July, 2018, 20:57
NASA’s TESS Spacecraft Continues Testing Prior to First Observations  
Comment icon #18 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 August, 2018, 18:20
NASA’s Planet-Hunting TESS Catches a Comet Before Starting Science  
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 17 September, 2018, 20:18
NASA’s TESS Shares First Science Image in Hunt to Find New Worlds  


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