TESS Spacecraft Has Already Found Two Potential Exoplanets

Posted: Sep 23 2018, 6:25am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 23 2018, 6:29am CDT, in Latest Science News


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TESS Spacecraft has Already Found Two Potential Exoplanets
An artist's illustration of NASA's TESS Spacecraft. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's latest mission is searching for planets outside our solar system.

Just few months into its missions, NASA’s newest planet-hunting TESS spacecraft has found two exciting exoplanet candidates. The first potential exoplanet is about twice the size of Earth and orbits a bright dwarf star Pi Mensae, lying nearly 60 light-years away from Earth. The other one is located 49 light-years from Earth and circles a red dwarf called LHS 3844. Both objects complete one orbit around their host stars every 6. 3 days and 11 hours, respectively.

“It is rewarding to see years of work that the team -engineers, scientists, & support staff- poured into the dream of @NASA_TESS become the reality of discovered planets. This is just the beginning; we can't wait to see what's next.” Padi Boyd NASA Goddard TESS project scientist said in a statement.

TESS, short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is the NASA's latest mission to search for planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets. Launched in April 18, the mission will spend next two years monitoring nearby brightest stars and look for periodic dips in their light. These so-called dipping events, called transits, suggest that a planet is in orbit around a star and may be passing in front of it.

Researchers believe that there are potentially thousands of planets lurking outside our solar system. TESS predecessor, NASA’s Kepler telescope, alone discovered more than 2,000 confirmed exoplanets while many candidates are awaiting confirmation. NASA’s new spacecraft TESS is expected to find thousands of more exoplanets. Few of these are potentially habitable with ingredients necessary to support life. The $337 million mission will observe 85 percent of the entire sky a field of view that contains more than 200,000 stars.

TESS officially began science operations on July 25 and sent its first science image back to Earth in September. The first light science image features a detailed view of the southern sky taken with all four of the spacecraft's wide-field cameras. It includes parts of a dozen constellations as well as both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the galaxies nearest to our own galaxy.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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