NASA's new spacecraft captures photo of more than a dozen celestial objects known to host exoplanets in stunning 'first light' image

14:08 • 18.09.18



NASA’s new exoplanet-hunting spacecraft has finally sent back its first official science image, in the first step toward finding new worlds beyond our solar system.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) snapped a photo using its four wide-field cameras on August 7, nearly four months after it blasted off from Cape Canaveral.


Its stunning ‘first light’ image reveals a look at several celestial features, including the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and the incredibly bright stars Beta Gruis and R Doradus, the Daily Mail reports.


“In a sea of stars brimming with new worlds, TESS is casting a wide net and will haul in a bounty of promising planets for further study,” said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.


‘This first light science image shows the capabilities of TESS’s cameras, and shows that the mission will realize its incredible potential in our search for another Earth.’


TESS fired its cameras for 30 mins on August 7, capturing a detailed image of the southern sky.


Ahead of its first science images, the spacecraft has been conducting tests over the last few months to verify its ability to observe a broad swath of the sky.


In its latest photo, TESS captured stars and objects that includes systems that are home to exoplanets.


“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.


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.

 Its stunning ‘first light’ image reveals a look at several celestial features, including the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and the incredibly bright stars Beta Gruis and R Doradus. TESS fired its cameras for 30 mins on August 7, capturing a detailed image of the southern sky





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