Space telescope TESS takes first science image


TESS has the task of finding planets outside the solar system, which orbit around stars, for that it will observe nearly the whole sky, where it will monitor the brightness of more than 200 thousand stars. TESS transmits images every 13.7 days, each time it swings closest to Earth.

NASA's Deep Space Network receives that data and forwards it to the TESS Payload Operations Center at MIT for initial evaluation and analysis, before full data processing and analysis at NASA's Ames Research Center in California generates calibrated images and refined light curves that can then be used to identify promising exoplanet transit candidates.

Launched in April this year, TESS began science operations in July and captured the released imagery in early August. “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.”.

Inside the image rests a strip of stars and galaxies from which we mention the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, which are two dwarf galaxies that orbit our own, and the Beta Gruis and R Doradus, a couple of luminous stars which saturated the detectors of the cameras.

There are parts of a dozen constellations in the TESS image, according to NASA, along with a globular cluster that includes hundreds of thousands of stars. TESS has given light images before but with only one camera in its testing phase. The detailed image was produced using all four of the spacecraft's wide-field cameras for 30 minutes, while the portion above shows the view captured by a single detector of one of its cameras.

Capturing these images allow the satellite to look for "transits", the period of time when a planet passes in front of a star.

NASA's new 'planet hunter, ' set to be Kepler's successor, is equipped with four cameras that will allow it to view 85 per cent of the entire sky, as it searches exoplanets orbiting stars less than 300 light-years away.

'We learned from Kepler that there are more planets than stars in our sky, and now TESS will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the closest stars, ' said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA's Headquarters.

NASA has released the first image from its new space telescope. The image, captured during its initial science orbit, features thousands of stars in the Southern Sky. Details of how TESS scans the sky are offered in the video above.

Researchers hope that during the first year of work the ship can map 13 areas of the southern sky, and in the second the same amount in the northern sector. "TESS will cast a wider net than ever before for enigmatic worlds".