Tuesday, 31 July 2018

transiting exoplanet survey satellite

Via Gizmodo, we learn that NASA’s TESS probe (previously) has begun survey observations that will examine the motion and luminosity of two hundred thousand nearby stars for tell-tale signatures that they are hosting planetary systems.
The advanced, precision satellite will image an area of sky for twenty seven days before moving on to the next patch, ultimately beaming back telemetry that covers about eighty-five percent of the heavens. The goal of the mission is to provide the successor to Hubble, the upcoming flagship James Webb Space Telescope, with a selection of targets to watch. TESS is scheduled to send its first transmission back to Earth in August and report back every thirteen and a half days thereafter—at the point in its orbit it approaches the closest to home. Considering the wonders already discovered relatively unaided, it’s stultifying to try to imagine what may be revealed to us next.