FP TrendingAug 14, 2020 09:23:10 IST
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS is one of the most powerful and successful exoplanet detecting spacecrafts. After two years of wide detection, the craft has now reached the end of its primary mission.
But since TESS has enough fuel left it has already embarked upon its extended mission, revealed NASA in a statement on 11 August.
Patricia Boyd, the project scientist for TESS at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, mentioned that even before embarking on the extended duty, TESS has been a successful venture.
"TESS is producing a torrent of high-quality observations providing valuable data across a wide range of science topics", she said.
During its haul, the craft had managed to map about 75 percent of the sky as seen from the earth. TESS had spotted 66 confirmed exoplanets during the primary mission and there are over 2100 celestial bodies and is awaiting confirmation by astronomers.
It works in a very simple fashion - the satellite looks at a certain patch of sky for a particular time period and looks for dips in the light of a star. If the dips occur at regular intervals, it means that there is a world or worlds orbiting the star, thereby blocking its light at a certain point of time.
It had completed two years of operation in July 2020 and presented scientists with 26 mosaic sectors that map the northern and southern sky as seen in this video. Each of the sectors comprises of 24-by-96-degree strips of the sky that the TESS has observed for a month using its four cameras.
The craft had spent its first year observing 13 sectors in the southern sky and then had spent another year imaging the northern sky. On its extended mission now, the craft has again focused on the southern sky.
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