TESS, a NASA space exploration telescope, discovered 21 exoplanets outside our solar system and collected data on other interesting events in the southern half of the sky during its first year. But TESS seems to be focusing its attention now on the northern hemisphere to complete the most comprehensive planet-hunting expedition ever undertaken.
On July 18, the survey of the southern part was completed, the spacecraft turned its cameras to the north, and when the northern part is completed by 2020, TESS will have identified more than three quarters of the sky.
“TESS takes the next step, if the planets are everywhere,” said Paddy Boyd, a TESS scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Let’s find those nearby glittering stars orbiting us, because they will be the stars that we can now follow through existing terrestrial and space telescopes “He said.
To find the outer planets, TESS uses four large cameras to watch a 24-degree segment of the sky for 27 days at a time. Some of these sections overlap, so some parts of the sky are watched for nearly a year. TESS focuses on stars closer to 300 years from our solar system.
NASA is working hard to put astronauts on some of the closest space objects “Moon and Mars” to understand more about the planets in our solar system. Following observations with powerful telescopes of the planets will enable us to better understand how Earth and the solar system were formed.
The mission, which was launched with a budget capped at $200 million, spent its first year surveying the southern hemisphere. Now, it has turned its cameras on the northern skies to repeat a similar scan.