In first month of data the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has likely found 100-200 exoplanets

Dr. Jeff Volosin, NASA Goddard describes the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

The first month of orbiting space telescope data has just been dumped. 1500 transit events have been detected. 115 gigabytes of data was downloaded. The expectations is that there will be 100-200 confirmed exoplanets in this first batch of data.

They are also finding new supernova and asteroids and other objects.

The Kepler space telescope only looked at 0.25% of the sky. TESS will look at the whole sky.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

After the first two-years, they will be able to focus on any area of the sky.

They got placed into the right orbit and did not need to use fuel to adjust the orbit. They currently have about 100 years worth of fuel. Fuel is needed to dump momentum.

The data will be provided to the public so all astronomers (including amateurs) can look through the data.

3 thoughts on “In first month of data the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has likely found 100-200 exoplanets”

  1. OK, so I’ll bite. Wait, what? 200,000 stars observed, while looking at the WHOLE sky for transits? Hmmm… actually if you go to the [i]Wikipedia[/i] site (which is quite informative on TESS) you find that actually 85% of the sky will only be “looked at” for 13.5 days, repeated twice, over its initial 2 year mission. The “sunflower” coverage of the sky gives longer total observation times for the poles of its polar orbit coverage. TESS is in a 13.5 day 2:1 resonance with Luna. Its apogee is nearly at Luna 350,000 km, and its perigee (closest to earth) is 107,000 km, well above the Van Allen high radiation belts. Moreover, it has “consumables” for over 15 years — and perhaps over 50 years — of total observation. Still — its a fine instrument. Each of its 13.5 day orbits, it swings around to another of the programmed 24° by 36° sectors, and shoots that with its f/1.4 wide angle telescopic camera, 2 seconds a shot, for the entire period. Computers aboard “mask out” almost all of the images take — the volume of raw data is far, far, far greater than onboard storage can accomodate, and even if it could, far more than the 100 megabit per second downlink can squirt toward Earthside stations once per orbit (at perigee). Some 2 years after it starts observations (i.e. “now”) it will have finished the all-sky survey Phase 1. Then it moves to Phase 2, where an as-yet-unidentified list of special re-observations are to be scheduled. Interesting spots found in the first survey. This it’ll keep doing either until it fails, or until the critically limited reaction mass “consumables” is depleted. This is presently estimated to be 50+ years of observation, notwithstanding an irrecoverable system failure. Thing is tho, only 200,000 primary stars are visible thru the exclusion mask. The masks are “digital”, so they can be reprogrammed at any time — as, for instance, might happen when the mission comes to Phase 1 closure, and its Phase 2 mission profile is radically a

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  2. OK so I’ll bite.Wait what? 200000 stars observed while looking at the WHOLE sky for transits? Hmmm… actually if you go to the [i]Wikipedia[/i] site (which is quite informative on TESS) you find that actually 85{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the sky will only be looked at”” for 13.5 days”” repeated twice”” over its initial 2 year mission. The “”””sunflower”””” coverage of the sky gives longer total observation times for the poles of its polar orbit coverage. TESS is in a 13.5 day 2:1 resonance with Luna. Its apogee is nearly at Luna 350″”000 km and its perigee (closest to earth) is 107000 km well above the Van Allen high radiation belts. Moreover”” it has “”””consumables”””” for over 15 years — and perhaps over 50 years — of total observation.Still — its a fine instrument. Each of its 13.5 day orbits”” it swings around to another of the programmed 24° by 36° sectors and shoots that with its f/1.4 wide angle telescopic camera 2 seconds a shot”” for the entire period. Computers aboard “”””mask out”””” almost all of the images take — the volume of raw data is far”” far far greater than onboard storage can accomodate and even if it could”” far more than the 100 megabit per second downlink can squirt toward Earthside stations once per orbit (at perigee).Some 2 years after it starts observations (i.e. “”””now””””) it will have finished the all-sky survey Phase 1. Then it moves to Phase 2″” where an as-yet-unidentified list of special re-observations are to be scheduled. Interesting spots found in the first survey. This it’ll keep doing either until it fails”” or until the critically limited reaction mass “”””consumables”””” is depleted. This is presently estimated to be 50+ years of observation”” notwithstanding an irrecoverable system failure. Thing is tho only 200″”000 primary stars are visible thru the exclusion mask. The masks are “”””digital”””””” so they can be reprogrammed at any time — as for instance might happ”

    Reply
  3. OK, so I’ll bite.

    Wait, what? 200,000 stars observed, while looking at the WHOLE sky for transits? Hmmm… actually if you go to the [i]Wikipedia[/i] site (which is quite informative on TESS) you find that actually 85% of the sky will only be “looked at” for 13.5 days, repeated twice, over its initial 2 year mission.

    The “sunflower” coverage of the sky gives longer total observation times for the poles of its polar orbit coverage.

    TESS is in a 13.5 day 2:1 resonance with Luna. Its apogee is nearly at Luna 350,000 km, and its perigee (closest to earth) is 107,000 km, well above the Van Allen high radiation belts. Moreover, it has “consumables” for over 15 years — and perhaps over 50 years — of total observation.

    Still — its a fine instrument. Each of its 13.5 day orbits, it swings around to another of the programmed 24° by 36° sectors, and shoots that with its f/1.4 wide angle telescopic camera, 2 seconds a shot, for the entire period. Computers aboard “mask out” almost all of the images take — the volume of raw data is far, far, far greater than onboard storage can accomodate, and even if it could, far more than the 100 megabit per second downlink can squirt toward Earthside stations once per orbit (at perigee).

    Some 2 years after it starts observations (i.e. “now”) it will have finished the all-sky survey Phase 1. Then it moves to Phase 2, where an as-yet-unidentified list of special re-observations are to be scheduled. Interesting spots found in the first survey. This it’ll keep doing either until it fails, or until the critically limited reaction mass “consumables” is depleted. This is presently estimated to be 50+ years of observation, notwithstanding an irrecoverable system failure.

    Thing is tho, only 200,000 primary stars are visible thru the exclusion mask. The masks are “digital”, so they can be reprogrammed at any time — as, for instance, might happen when the mission comes to Phase 1 closure, and its Phase 2 mission profile is radically altered from today’s modest expectations.

    So that’s good.

    But the other — and ot me somewhat more vexing — limitation is the 30 minute (2 seconds at a time) integration window for exoplanet transit discovery AND the 13.5 days “now” and 13.5 days “a year from now” coverage. Seems oddly exclusive. Many kinds of longer period orbital transits simply won’t be detected.

    Orbits like “Earth’s orbit”. Might never be detected on 348 out of 361 planets.

    Oh well. 100 × 13.5 ÷ 361 → 3.75% of the systems … will be able to detect such longer transits. One need only multiply “whatever they find” by 27 to get the statistically supportable total number in the survey field.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

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