Here’s How NASA’s TESS Developed a Cosmic Vista of the Northern Sky

a cosmic vista of the northern sky

NASA’s incredible TESS (The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has spotted 74 exoplanets, also known as worlds beyond our Solar System. Now, astronomers are sifting through over 1,000 extra exoplanet candidates, where possible new planets await confirmation. More than 500 of those lie in the northern sky.

TESS is incredibly skillful when observing many stars over large regions of the sky and examining tiny changes in their brightness. So far, NASA’s satellite did more than a fantastic job, providing essential data. Here is what you need to know.

TESS’s Mission Details

TESS’s fantastic work is based on a great technique. When a planet passes in front of its host star, it blocks some of the star’s light. Such a thing causes a temporarily dim. The event is known as a transit, and astronomers know that it repeats with every orbit of the planet around the star.

That technique has proven so far to be the most useful and successful planet-tracking strategy. The data also gathered alow for the research of other phenomena such as supernova explosions and stellar variations in never-seen detail.

Northern Sky Features

The northern sky covers less of the sky than the southern, which astronomers imaged during TESS’s first year of operations. 

Furthermore, the northern view represents only a sneak peek of the data TESS has provided. The mission splits each celestial hemisphere into 13 incredible sectors. TESS succeeded in imaging every part for almost a month utilizing four cameras with a total of 16 sensors dubbed charge-coupled devices (CCDs). 

Cameras’ Skills

The cameras shot an entire sector every 30 minutes. Such a thing means that each CCD acquired almost 30,800 pictures. Adding in other measurements, TESS has returned with more than 40TB so far. 

You can watch below an incredible video of the northern sky (assembled from 208 pictures by TESS).

“Making high-precision measurements of stellar brightness at these frequencies makes TESS an extraordinary new resource for studying…,” stated Padi Boyd, the mission’s project scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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