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NASA’s exoplanet-hunter ‘TESS,’ completes its 100th orbit
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NASA’s exoplanet-hunter ‘TESS,’ completes its 100th orbit

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has completed its 100th orbit. This space telescope is designed to discover thousands exoplanets orbiting around the brightest dwarfs stars in the sky.

NASA reports that the satellite discovered 175 new exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) and more then 5,000 planet candidates in the 99 previous orbits.

TESS was launched in 2018. It completed its two-year prime mission July 4, 2020. The telescope is now on an extended mission, which will last until September 2022. TESS spent a year imaging the northern sky, while first observing 13 sectors of the southern sky.

Here are some of the most fascinating discoveries made by TESS so far:

  • Satellite discovered TOI 700 dThe first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone. It is 20% larger than Earth and orbits every 37 day. It receives 86% of the Sun’s energy from its star.
  • The planet hunter also witnessed a star being torn by a blackhole in a distant galaxies.
  • TESS also discovered its first circumbinary world, a world orbiting 2 suns. Named TOI1338 b, the planet is approximately 6.9 times larger that Earth or between Neptune and Saturn.
  • The mission also found surprise eclipses in Alpha Draconis. This binary star system is well-known and lies approximately 270 light-years from the northern constellation Draco. Its companion star, which is five times fainter, is also located about 270 light years away.

TESS was built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Dulles, VA. It features four identical refractive camera with a combined FOV of 24×96 degrees.

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