Incredible First Discoveries from NASA's New Exoplanet Hunting Spacecraft: TESS




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Hundreds of candidate planets have been discovered so far in the data collected and released by NASA's Transit Explanet Survey Satellite (Tess), with eight of them being confirmed so far by follow-up measurements. Three of the most unique, interesting exoplanets are illustrated here.NASA / MIT / TESS

It was nearly a decade since NASA's Kefler mission first launched. Beginning in 2009, the Kefler Spacecraft watched hundreds of thousands of stars in our own galaxy, measuring the total amount of light output for each and every search for no minuscule changes. By missions & # 39; s end, Kepler and its add-on mission, K2, had discovered thousands of new planets around stars beyond our own, including a significant number of Earth-sized, potentially habitable worlds.

If Kefler showed us that our galaxy is full of planets, then its successor mission, Tess – those Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite – Discover the transitory worlds of the closest stars to our own. If it is an Earth-like world that passes in front of its parent stars in our line-of-sight, TESS will reveal it. For the first time, we will be sensitive to the "holy grille" of planets right in our own backyard.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Tess spacecraft lifts off on April 18, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canal Air Force Station in Florida. Tess is NASA's successor mission to Kefler and C2, and is designed to find Earth's around the closest stars to Earth.Getty

Keeper's quest was an unreasonable problem: it found a narrow field-of-view devastating a distance of 3,000 light-years. Its primary mission was to see the same field, continuously, for years on end. Encapsulating a total of over 100,000 stars, Kepler searched for systematic, periodic dips in the total amount of light coming from each star. When discovered, it may recall the presence of a planet, with the magnitude and time of the depth corresponding to the radius and orbital distance of the planet.

But Tess is different. Instead of looking at a tight sky, Tess surveys the entire sky, sector-by-sector, to seek planets around the star closest to us. If there is a serendipitus-aligned planet around any of us within approximately 200 light years of ours, TESS will find it, delivering its radius and orbital distance. Moreover, every discovery of Tess that gives us a planet also gives us a candidate system where future observations, like James Webb Space Telescope, can try and find potential signs of life.

NASA's TESS satellite will transmit the entire sky into chunks that are 12 degrees across, ranging from the galactic poles down to the Galactic Equator. As a result of this making strategy, the polar regions see more observing time, making Tess more sensitive to smaller and more distant planets in the systems.NASA / MIT / TESS

TESS launched in April 2018, starting its search for new worlds. Its first scientific data taken in July; About half a year later, it delivered its first data release. Over the course of its life, Tess is expected to find thousands of new planets around a variety of stars, from jupiter-sized gas giants down to small, rocky, earth-sized worlds.

With his first six sectors surveyed, here are some highlights of what Tess has found so far:

  • Over 300 candidate planets,
  • 8 confirmed planets,
  • Including some that are giant planets,
  • And some that are barely larger than Earth.

But numbers do not do the discoveries of justice. By looking at a few of these discoveries in detail, we can appreciate what phenomenal science can provide to us.

An illustration from NASA's TESS satellite and its capabilities of imaging transiting exoplanets.NASA

The first confirmed planet is Pi Mensae C, which orbits a star very similar to our own. Only 10% more massive and 20% larger than our sun, while MENSAE is quite similar to our star, but its solar system must be vastly different. Blocking a small piece of light, like MENSAE c is very close to staring, orbiting for just 6.3 days. It is about twice the radius of Earth and nearly five times as massive, implying that it is fairly typical of hot earth size and Neptune.

The numbers of planets discovered by Kepler sorted by their size distribution, as of May 2016, when the largest hours of new exoplanets were released. Super-Earth / Mini-Neptune worlds are by far the most common, although practically all of these worlds are likely to be neptune-like with large gas envelopes around them, not Earth-like, with thin atmospheres.NASA AMES / II. Stenzel

But it is not typical; This is remarkable. Way back in 2001, a large planet has been discovered perturbing the orbit of P. mensa: p. It was one of the most massive planets ever discovered: in more than 10 times the mass of Jupiter. Eccentric, his orbiter shows far more than the Sun's Jupiter at 5.55 o'clock, but made a close drive to nearly within Earth's orbit (1.21 O.) during his period career.

With Pi Mensae C now discovered by TESS, this is the first time we've found a nearby and distant planet within the same system with such vastly different properties and orbits. The leading theory is that the mounted planets form in nearly-perfect orbits, but create an eccentric jupiter-mass (or larger) planet, something that must have stopped it.

The Pi Mensae system is now the most extreme one known in this regard, and the mystery of how such systems achieve this configuration is sure to be a topic of much research – and speculation – in the future.

Today we know of over 3,500 veroplanets, with over 2500 found in the Kepler data. The planets are larger in size than jupiter to smaller than Earth. But because of the limitations on the size of Kefler and the duration of the mission, the majority of Earth-sized planets are very hot and close to their stars. Tess has the same issue with the first planets it's discovering: they are preferably hot and in close orbits.NASA / Ames Research Center / Jesse Dotan and Wendy Stenzel; Missing Earth-like Worlds by E. Siegel

The most extreme planet discovered is LHS 3884bIt's just slightly larger than ground in 1.3 times our home radius, but so close to its parent star that completes its revolution every 11 hours. At a distance of 49 light years off, this world is so hot that its star-facing side can be loaded with molten lava pools at its hottest parts. The world, at least in theory, is so hot that it gets into the liquid phase itself.

Although it is unlikely to be in an atmosphere of mass and temperature properties, it may make a thin one on an ongoing basis, dependent on its chemical composition or near the planet's surface. The characteristics of the system make it an ideal candidate to measure it's absorption spectra. If there is one, we should know what it is made of as soon as we have the right telescopes looking at it.

The aspiring planets around HD 21749 are perhaps the most interesting to find so far from Tess, and show us a solar system that is unique among all that we have ever discovered.NASA / MIT / TESS

Most notably, TESS gave us a close star to keep an eye on: HD 21749. Only a few of the 53 light-years, this star is smaller and less massive than the sun: about 70% as large and massive. As a Q-class star, the planets orbiting it should not be subject to catastrophic flares or tidal locking; If it is a world-wide world at the distance of this star, it would be a great opportunity for a world of life on it.

On New Year's Eve, The Tess team released a paper Announcing a planet orbit reveal this star: HD 21749b, with a 36-day orbit and 2.84 times the Earth's radius. This world, slightly smaller than Neptune, was confirmed by follow-up observations, which determined its load to be 23.2 times the mass of ground, making it smaller but more massive. – and denser & nbsp; – Like either Uranus or Neptune.

Using the first three months of publicly available data from NASA's TESS mission, scientists at and elsewhere confirmed a new planet, HD 21749 M – the third small planet that Tess has so far discovered. HD 21749 M orbits a star, about the size of the sun, 53 light years off.NASA / MIT / TESS

This is interesting for a number of reasons. First off at these distances, the temperatures should be warm, but not ultra-hot: around 300 ° C (150 ° C). Second, it is the longest time exoplanet known within 100 light years of Earth. And, perhaps most of all, there's a hint of a signal & nbsp; – and a possible candidate planet & nbsp; – That could also be closer to the star in the HD 21749 system. The remaining candidate, if confirmed, would have a period of 8 days, and a radius of approximately the same number of Earth.

If this planet turns out to exist, it would be the very earth-sized world detected by Tess: the least one that this new observational had found to date.

An artist renders a potentially widely exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star. When it comes to living beyond ground, we have yet to discover our first inhabited world, but Tess brings us the star systems that will be our most likely, early candidates for discovering it.NASA AMES / JPL-KALTECH

The ultimate goal of TESS is to find possible earth-like worlds, and star systems that can stand rocky, potentially widely worlds. Because Tess was optimized to slide the star close to us, it's the greatest find among the first targets for future, more powerful absorbers that can detect not only worlds, but also measure their atmospheric contents. If we get lucky, some of these worlds can have house molecules like water, methane, carbon dioxide, or even oxygen in their atmosphere.

It will not be a slam-dunk that these worlds are inhabited, but Tess takes us one step closer to finding the nearest worlds that may be the greatest hope humanity has for finding life outside of our own solar system. The worlds we've found so far are absolutely fascinating, and just a few months in its primary mission, Tess is easily meeting even the most hopeless expectations for him. Through James Webb Space Telescope launches, Tess should provide us with many worlds that may just be the best place to look to take our next big leap to our ultimate goal: find an inhabited world.

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Hundreds of candidate planets have been discovered so far in the data collected and released by NASA's Transit Explanet Survey Satellite (Tess), with eight of them being confirmed so far by follow-up measurements. Three of the most unique, interesting exoplanets are illustrated here.NASA / MIT / TESS

It was nearly a decade since NASA's Kefler mission first launched. Beginning in 2009, the Kefler Spacecraft watched hundreds of thousands of stars in our own galaxy, measuring the total amount of light output for each and every search for no minuscule changes. By missions & # 39; s end, Kepler and its add-on mission, K2, had discovered thousands of new planets around stars beyond our own, including a significant number of Earth-sized, potentially habitable worlds.

If Kefler showed us that our galaxy is full of planets, then its successor mission, Tess – the Transiting Explanation Survey Satellite – will reveal the transit worlds to the closest stars to our own. If it is an Earth-like world that passes in front of its parent stars in our line-of-sight, TESS will reveal it. For the first time, we will be sensitive to the "holy grille" of planets right in our own backyard.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Tess spacecraft lifts off on April 18, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canal Air Force Station in Florida. Tess is NASA's successor mission to Kefler and C2, and is designed to find Earth's around the closest stars to Earth.Getty

Keeper's quest was an unreasonable problem: it found a narrow field-of-view devastating a distance of 3,000 light-years. Its primary mission was to see the same field, continuously, for years on end. Encapsulating a total of over 100,000 stars, Kepler searched for systematic, periodic dips in the total amount of light coming from each star. When discovered, it may recall the presence of a planet, with the magnitude and time of the depth corresponding to the radius and orbital distance of the planet.

But Tess is different. Instead of looking at a tight sky, Tess surveys the entire sky, sector-by-sector, to seek planets around the star closest to us. If there is a serendipitus-aligned planet around any of us within approximately 200 light years of ours, TESS will find it, delivering its radius and orbital distance. Moreover, every discovery of Tess that gives us a planet also gives us a candidate system where future observations, like James Webb Space Telescope, can try and find potential signs of life.

NASA's TESS satellite will transmit the entire sky into chunks that are 12 degrees across, ranging from the galactic poles down to the Galactic Equator. As a result of this making strategy, the polar regions see more observing time, making Tess more sensitive to smaller and more distant planets in the systems.NASA / MIT / TESS

TESS launched in April 2018, starting its search for new worlds. Its first scientific data taken in July; About half a year later, it delivered its first data release. Over the course of its life, Tess is expected to find thousands of new planets around a variety of stars, from jupiter-sized gas giants down to small, rocky, earth-sized worlds.

With his first six sectors surveyed, here are some highlights of what Tess has found so far:

  • Over 300 candidate planets,
  • 8 confirmed planets,
  • Including some that are giant planets,
  • And some that are barely larger than Earth.

But numbers do not do the discoveries of justice. By looking at a few of these discoveries in detail, we can appreciate what phenomenal science can provide to us.

An illustration from NASA's TESS satellite and its capabilities of imaging transiting exoplanets.NASA

The first confirmed planet is Pi Mensae C, which orbits a star very similar to our own. Only 10% more massive and 20% larger than our sun, while MENSAE is quite similar to our star, but its solar system must be vastly different. Blocking a small piece of light, like MENSAE c is very close to staring, orbiting for just 6.3 days. It is about twice the radius of Earth and nearly five times as massive, implying that it is fairly typical of hot earth size and Neptune.

The numbers of planets discovered by Kepler sorted by their size distribution, as of May 2016, when the largest hours of new exoplanets were released. Super-Earth / Mini-Neptune worlds are by far the most common, although practically all of these worlds are likely to be neptune-like with large gas envelopes around them, not Earth-like, with thin atmospheres.NASA AMES / II. Stenzel

But it is not typical; This is remarkable. Way back in 2001, a large planet has been discovered perturbing the orbit of P. mensa: p. It was one of the most massive planets ever discovered: in more than 10 times the mass of Jupiter. Eccentric, his orbiter shows far more than the Sun's Jupiter at 5.55 o'clock, but made a close drive to nearly within Earth's orbit (1.21 O.) during his period career.

With Pi Mensae C now discovered by TESS, this is the first time we've found a nearby and distant planet within the same system with such vastly different properties and orbits. The leading theory is that the mounted planets form in nearly-perfect orbits, but create an eccentric jupiter-mass (or larger) planet, something that must have stopped it.

די Pi Mensae סיסטעם איז איצט דער רובֿ עקסטרעם איינער באקאנט אין דעם אַכטונג, און די מיסטעריע פון ​​ווי אַזאַ סיסטעמען דערגרייכן דעם קאַנפיגיעריישאַן איז זיכער צו זיין אַ טעמע פון ​​פיל פאָרשונג – און ספּעקולאַציע – אין דער צוקונפֿט.

הייַנט, מיר וויסן פון איבער 3500 באשטעטיקט עקסאָפּלאַנעץ, מיט מער ווי 2500 פון די געפונען אין די Kepler דאַטן. די פּלאַנאַץ קייט אין גרייס פון גרעסער ווי דזשופּיטער צו קלענערער ווי ערד. אָבער ווייַל פון די לימיטיישאַנז אויף די גרייס פון קעפלער און די געדויער פון די מיסיע, די מערהייַט פון ערד-סייזד פּלאַנאַץ זענען זייער הייס און נאָענט צו זייער שטערן. טעסס האט די זעלבע אַרויסגעבן מיט די ערשטער פּלאַנאַץ עס ס דיסקאַווערינג: זיי זענען פּרעפֿערלי הייס און אין נאָענט אָרבאַץ.NASA / Ames Research Centre / דזשעסי דאָטאַן און Wendy Stenzel; פעלנדיק ערד-ווי וועלטן פון E. Siegel

די מערסט עקסטרעם פּלאַנעט דיסקאַווערד איז LHS 3884b, וואָס איז בלויז אַ ביסל גרעסערע ווי ערד אין 1.3 מאל אונדזער ראַדיוס היים היים, אָבער אַזוי נאָענט צו זייַן פאָטער שטערן אַז עס קאַמפּליץ אַ רעוואָלוציע יעדער 11 שעה. אין אַ ווייַטקייט פון 49 ליכט יאָרן אַוועק, דעם וועלט איז אַזוי הייס אַז זייַן שטערן-פייסינג זייַט זאל זיין לאָודיד מיט פּאָאָלס פון מאָולטאַן לאַוואַ בייַ די האָטטעסט טיילן. די וועלט איז, אין מינדסטער אין טעאָריע, אַזוי הייס אַז שטיין זיך גייט אריין די פליסיק פאַסע.

כאָטש עס איז אַנלייקלי צו פאַרמאַכן אין אַטמאָספער מיט די מאַסע און טעמפּעראַטור פּראָפּערטיעס, עס קען מאַכן אַ דין איינער אויף אַ אָנגאָינג יקער, אָפענגיק אויף זייַן כעמישער זאַץ אין אָדער לעבן די פּלאַנעט &#39;ס ייבערפלאַך. די קעראַקטעריסטיקס פון דעם סיסטעם מאַכן עס אַ ידעאַל קאַנדידאַט צו מעסטן עס אַטאָרבאַק ס אַבזאָרפּשאַן ספּעקטראַ. אויב עס איז איינער, מיר זאָל וויסן וואָס עס ס געמאכט פון ווי באַלד ווי מיר האָבן די רעכט טעלעסקאָפּז קוקן בייַ אים.

די קאַנדידאַט פּלאַנאַץ אַרום הד 21749 זענען טאָמער די מערסט טשיקאַווע געפינט אַזוי ווייַט פון טעסס, און ווייַזן אונדז אַ זונ סיסטעם וואָס איז יינציק צווישן אַלע וואָס מיר האָבן אלץ דיסקאַווערד.NASA / MIT / TESS

רובֿ ספּעקטאַקיאַלערלי, TESS האט אונדז אַ נאָענט שטערן צו האַלטן אַן אויג אויף: הד 21749. ליגן בלויז אַ ביסל פון 53 ליכט-יאָרן, דעם שטערן איז קלענערער און ווייניקער מאַסיוו ווי די זון: וועגן 70% ווי גרויס און מאַסיוו. ווי אַ ק-קלאַס שטערן, די פּלאַנאַץ אָרביטינג עס זאָל נישט זיין אונטער צו קאַטאַסטראָפיק פלאַרז אָדער טיידאַל לאַקינג; אויב עס איז אַ ערד-סייזד וועלט בייַ די רעכט ווייַטקייט פון דעם שטערן, עס וואָלט זיין אַ ויסגעצייכנט געלעגנהייַט פֿאַר אַ וועלט מיט לעבן אויף עס.

אויף ניו יאר ס יוו, די TESS מאַנשאַפֿט באפרייט אַ פּאַפּיר אַנאַונסינג די אַנטדעקן פון אַ פּלאַנעט אָרביטינג דעם שטערן: הד 21749 ב, מיט אַ 36-טאָג אָרביט און 2.84 מאל די ראַדיוס פון ערד. די וועלט, אַ ביסל קלענערער ווי נעפּטון, איז באשטעטיקט דורך נאָכפאָלגן-אַרויף אַבזערוויישאַנז, וואָס באשלאסן זייַן מאַסע צו זיין 23.2 מאל די מאַסע פון ​​ערד, מאכן עס קלענערער, ​​אָבער מער מאַסיוו – און דענסער – ווי קיין וראַנוס אָדער נעפּטון.

ניצן די ערשטער דרייַ חדשים פון עפנטלעך בנימצא דאַטן פון NASA &#39;s TESS מיסיע, סייאַנטיס בייַ מיט און אנדערש האָבן באשטעטיקט אַ נייַ פּלאַנעט, הד 21749 ב – די דריט קליין פּלאַנעט אַז טעסס האט אַזוי ווייַט דיסקאַווערד. הד 21749 ב אָרבאַץ אַ שטערן, וועגן די גרייס פון דעם זון, 53 ליכט יאָרן אַוועק.NASA / MIT / TESS

דאָס איז טשיקאַווע פֿאַר אַ נומער פון סיבות. ערשטער, בייַ די דיסטאַנסאַז, די טעמפּעראַטורעס זאָל זיין וואַרעם, אָבער ניט הינטער-הייס: אַרום 300 ° F (150 ° C). רגע, עס איז די לאָנגעסט-צייַט עקסאָפּלאַנעט באַוווסט ין 100 ליכט יאָרן פון ערד. און, טאָמער רובֿ טשיקאַוועלי פון אַלע, עס ס אַ אָנצוהערעניש פון אַ סיגנאַל – און אַ מעגלעך קאַנדידאַט פּלאַנעט – וואָס קען זיין אויך נעענטער צו דער שטערן אין די הד 21749 סיסטעם. דער נאָך קאַנדידאַט, אויב באשטעטיקט, וואָלט האָבן אַ צייַט פון 8 טעג, און אַ ראַדיוס פון בעערעך די נומער פון ערד.

אויב דעם פּלאַנעט טורנס אויס צו עקסיסטירן, עס וואָלט זיין די זייער ערד-סייזד וועלט דעטעקטעד דורך טעסס: דער קלענסטער איינער אַז דעם נייַ אָבסערוואַטאָרי האט געפונען צו דאַטע.

א קינסטלער רענדיצע פון ​​אַ פּאַטענטשאַלי וויידלי עקסאָפּלאַנעט אָרביטינג אַ זון-ווי שטערן. ווען עס קומט צו לעבן ווייַטער פון ערד, מיר האָבן נאָך צו אַנטדעקן אונדזער ערשטער ינכאַבאַטאַד וועלט, אָבער טעסס ברענגט אונדז די שטערן סיסטעמס וואָס וועט זיין אונדזער רובֿ מסתּמא, פרי קאַנדאַדייץ פֿאַר אַנטדעקן עס.נאַסאַ אַמעס / דזשפּל-קאַלטעטש

די לעצט ציל פון TESS איז צו געפֿינען מעגלעך ערד-ווי וועלטן, און שטערן סיסטעמס וואָס קענען שטייען שטיינערדיק, פּאַטענטשאַלי וויידלי וועלטן. ווייַל טעסס איז אָפּטימיזעד צו רוק די שטערן נאָענט צו אונדז, עס ס גרעסטע געפינט וועט זיין צווישן די ערשטער טאַרגאַץ פֿאַר צוקונפֿט, מער שטאַרק אַבזאָרבאַטאָריז וואָס קענען נישט בלויז דעטעקט די וועלטן, אָבער מעסטן זייער אַטמאַספעריק אינהאַלט. אויב מיר באַקומען מאַזלדיק, עטלעכע פון ​​די וועלטן קענען הויז מאַלאַקיולז ווי וואַסער, מעטיין, טשאַד דייאַקסייד, אָדער אַפֿילו זויערשטאָף אין זייער אַטמאָספערעס.

עס וועט ניט זיין אַ סלאַם-דונק אַז די וועלטן זענען ינכאַבאַטאַד, אָבער טעסס נעמט אונדז איין שריט נעענטער צו דערגייונג די ניראַסט וועלטן וואָס זאל זיין די גרעסטע האָפענונג מענטשהייַט פֿאַר דערגייונג לעבן אַרויס פון אונדזער אייגן זונ סיסטעם. די וועלטן מיר האָבן געפונען אַזוי ווייַט זענען לעגאַמרע פאַסאַנייטינג, און בלויז אַ ביסל חדשים אין זייַן ערשטיק מיסיע, טעסס איז לייכט באַגעגעניש אַפֿילו די לאָפטיאַסט עקספּעקטיישאַנז פֿאַר אים. דורך יעקב וועבב ספעיס טעלעסקאָפּ לאָנטשיז, טעסס זאָל צושטעלן אונדז מיט פילע וועלטן אַז נאָר קען זיין דער בעסטער פּלאַץ צו קוקן צו נעמען אונדזער ווייַטער גרויס שפּרינגען צו אונדזער לעצט ציל: געפֿינען אַן ינכאַבאַטאַד וועלט.


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