By the end of its survey, of around 200,000 target stars, TESS ought to have captured around 5000 transit-like signals for direct imaging.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) snapped a photo using its four wide-field cameras on August 7, almost four months after it blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
The "first light" imagery, captured in just half an hour, includes broad-swath views of the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud, among what NASA described as a wealth of stars and other celestial objects including clusters that are known to harbor exoplanets. Created through combining the view from all four of its cameras, here is TESS' "crack of dawn", from the 1st staring at sector that can be used for making a choice on planets around other stars. However, the TESS cameras are looking at stars much closer to home than Kepler, concentrating on targets between 30 and 300 light years away, and up to 100 times brighter.
'This swatch of the sky's southern hemisphere includes more than a dozen stars we know have transiting planets based on previous studies from ground observatories, ' said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research in Cambridge.
The image holds a myriad of constellations ranging from Capricornus to Pictor as well as both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are the galaxies nearest to ours.
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The satellite is allowed to look for transits by capturing these images.
To find new exoplanets, TESS takes images of space over a period of 27 days, with a focus on the southern sky during its first year. When the data is analyzed, scientists will be able to detect minute dips in a star's brightness - suggesting that a planet has passed in front of it (relative to the telescope, of course). The northern sky will get its check-up during the second year.
To schedule science observations, the MIT team working on TESS coordinates with Northrop Grumman in Falls Church, Virginia. Still, it is not really the first time that TESS sent an image back to Earth. For example, the spacecraft NASA's Kepler has identified more than 2,600 confirmed exoplanets.
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. In contrast, TESS will survey about 85 percent of the night sky, targeting stars that are 30 to 300 light-years away. That data will be combed and, it's expected, will yield countless new exoplanet discoveries.