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TESS: The View into the Galactic Plane

23 May 2018, 15:08 UTC
TESS: The View into the Galactic Plane
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I want to be sure to get the first image from TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, into Centauri Dreams, given the importance of the mission and the high hopes riding on it as the next step in exoplanet exploration. Now we move from the Kepler statistical survey methodology to a look at bright, nearby stars, and plenty of them. TESS will cover an area of sky far larger than the amount of sky we see in this image, which looks out along the plane of the galaxy from a perspective that matches southern skies on Earth.

Image: This test image from one of the four cameras aboard the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) captures a swath of the southern sky along the plane of our galaxy. TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times the amount of sky shown in this image when using all four of its cameras during science operations. Credits: NASA/MIT/TESS.
Showing some 200,000 stars, the image is centered on the southern constellation Centaurus, with a bit of the Coalsack Nebula at the upper right and, if you look along the bottom edge, the bright star Beta Centauri readily visible. Here I add the usual ...

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