Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - NASA's newest planet hunter starts science operations

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - NASA's newest planet hunter starts science operations

NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS Spacecraft) has started its hunt for planets orbiting nearby stars.

NASA's exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS is fully operational and has begun scanning the skies for distant planets, NASA reported on Friday.

The planet hunter is expected to give astronomers more than a thousand new exoplanets to explore and endless of possibilities in further studies beyond the solar system.

His task, as Kepler is finding planets by the transit method, that is tracking a change in the light of the star during the passage of the planet on its disk.

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An animation of TESS exploring the skies. Like Kepler, TESS will look for tiny dips in the brightness of individual stars caused by a planet passing between its star and the telescope in its orbit.

"Now we are well aware that the planets in the Universe is more than stars, and I look forward to the opening of the extremely freaky and just plain weird worlds", said Paul Hertz (Paul Hertz), the head of the Astrophysics division of NASA.

NASA's TESS satellite is being operated by scientists who work at MIT, while scientists who work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are managing this large project.

"Now that we know there are more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the odd, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover", Paul added.

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According to the Agency, TESS has four telescopes with matrices a resolution of 16.8 megapixels, operating in the spectral range from 600 to 1000 nanometers.

Orbital Observatory TESS successfully passed all checks of tools and began observations of the brightest stars of the Galaxy, next to which can hide a full-fledged counterpart of the Earth.

Back in May, TESS snapped its first image as a two-second exposure test.

Officially beginning science operations on July 25, TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth, NASA said in a statement. The Kepler space telescope discovered over 2,000 confirmed exoplanets since its launch in 2009. In fact, the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, developed in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency will study these exoplanets.

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