NASA's planet-hunting probe 'TESS' sends back its first image

NASA's TESS probe sends back its first science image.


Nasa's planet-hunting probe has sent back its first science image, which captures a star's wealth and other cosmic objects in the southern sky. The images were taken using the probe's four wide-field cameras during a 30-minute period on August 7.

NASA's planet-hunting probe 'TESS' sends back its first image


"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' cameras, and shows that the mission will realize its incredible potential in our search for another Earth," said Hertz.

The images show parts of a dozen constellations, from Capricornus to Pictor, Magellanic Clouds, and the galaxies that are close to our own. The dot seen over the Small Magellanic Cloud is a globular cluster -- a spherical collection of numerous stars, known as NGC 104 or 47 Tucanae due to its location in the southern constellation Toucana, the Toucan.

"This swath 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).

On September 17, midnight, ISRO also launched its PSLV-C42 carrying two satellites from the UK. The NovaSAR and S1-4 took flight from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR.

This the lightest version of the PSLV sans the six strap-on motors. It placed the two satellites in the desired orbit within 18 minutes of launch. This was the 12th such launch of a core-alone version of the PSLV by ISRO.

Both the satellites are now been placed in a circular orbit around the poles, 583 km from Earth's surface. The satellites are owned by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and ISRO's Antrix Corporation made more than ₹220 in return for the launch.

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