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TESS: Magnifique!


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  • Neil S April 18, 2018, 22:08

    Indeed. Maybe this was touched on below but I didn’t see it. TESS will look at most of its surroundings for 27 days then move on. I realize a lot of the stars it’s intended for are red dwarves whose habitable zone (if there is one) is close in so they have short orbits, but for earth-2, the odds of it passing in front of sol-2 while TESS is watching are about 1/12 and the odds of a confirming or year-defining pass are 0. I guess they’re reconciled to missing a lot of planets, even ones with ideal orbital planes. But having said that, Go TESS!

    • PW April 21, 2018, 12:51

      I agree. I’m ALL for TESS and SpaceX. That said, TESS will be skewed to find fast orbiting planets. Those around the red dwarfs (tidally locked and irradiated) and Hot Jupiters. HJ’s are thought to form in the outer solar systems and migrate inward. If so, they are certainly tossing about the inner system rocky planets or ejecting them outright.
      To this extent, TESS will be useful for the study of the types mentioned above, and also at pointing out where the true earth analogs “ain’t”.

  • J. Jason Wentworth April 19, 2018, 1:39

    Thankfully, the fire remained in the right place–at the rear! :-) This flight, by the way, showed–almost imperceptibly–how routine reusable rockets have become. I noticed that no big deal was made of the first stage’s landing on the barge…”Oh, another landing,” as Elon Musk said would eventually *be* said, after the first successful drone ship landing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Steven, their small fairing half recovery ship, caught its quarry this time (I won’t be surprised if the second ship, for catching the other fairing half, is named Mr. Bean…), and:

    Hopefully checkout, and then First Light, will occur soon for TESS!

  • J. Jason Wentworth April 19, 2018, 2:17

    Incidentally, if anyone here who is also a space modeler (a model rocketeer) would like to commemorate the TESS mission in a more dynamic fashion, SpaceX sells–through their online store–a 1.637″ diameter (Estes BT-60 size) flying scale model of the Falcon 9 (see: http://shop.spacex.com/accessories/f9-flying-model-rocket-kit.html ), and:

    Boyce Aerospace Hobbies offers–at my suggestion–“after-market” ‘scale accurizing’ 3D printed, improved grid fins and landing legs for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 kit (see: http://boyceaerospacehobbies.com/?page_id=701 *and* http://boyceaerospacehobbies.com/ [at the bottom of the “screen-page”]). SpaceX’s Falcon 9 model flies on Estes “D” and “E” motors and uses a standard Estes launch controller and launch pad (with a 3/16″ Maxi-rod), see: http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/accessories/launch-systems/002222-porta-padr-ii-launch-pad-and-electron-beamr-launch-controller and http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/accessories/launch-systems/002244-3-16-two-piece-launch-rod . (Some launch sets come with one or two rockets, a launch controller, and a launch pad with a 1/8″ standard launch rod [almost all Estes launch pads also accommodate the 3/16″ Maxi-rod] for almost no more than just a launch pad/launch controller combo, see: http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/launch-sets .) The TESS mission livery on that particular Falcon 9 round is easy to reproduce at home using printer-size water-slide decal film sheets (see: http://www.bare-metal.com ), and Googling “custom water-slide decals” will bring up numerous custom decal makers.

    I hope this information will be helpful.

  • ljk April 19, 2018, 9:19
  • Harry R Ray April 19, 2018, 9:21

    Time to get ready for the second Gaia data release next week! That one should enable planet hunters to find HUNDREDS of super-jupiters around stars where radial velocity measurements of the required sensitivity are not obtainable.

    • Andrew Palfreyman April 22, 2018, 17:57

      It sounds like fertile ground for unleashing some good AI. Recent AI discoveries of hitherto-undiscovered planets have been encouraging.

      • ljk April 23, 2018, 9:28

        Droids beat astronomers in predicting survivability of exoplanets

        Last Updated on Monday, 23 April 2018 09:25

        Published on Monday, 23 April 2018 09:24

        Artificial intelligence is giving scientists new hope for studying the habitability of planets, in a study from astronomers Chris Lam and David Kipping. Their work looks at so-called ‘Tatooines’, and uses machine learning techniques to calculate how likely such planets are to survive into stable orbits. The study is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

        Full article here:


  • ljk May 18, 2018, 16:39

    May 18, 2018

    NASA’s New Planet Hunter Snaps Initial Test Image, Swings by Moon Toward Final Orbit

    NASA’s next planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is one step closer to searching for new worlds after successfully completing a lunar flyby on May 17. The spacecraft passed about 5,000 miles from the Moon, which provided a gravity assist that helped TESS sail toward its final working orbit.

    As part of camera commissioning, the science team snapped a two-second test exposure using one of the four TESS cameras. The image, centered on the southern constellation Centaurus, reveals more than 200,000 stars. The edge of the Coalsack Nebula is in the right upper corner and the bright star Beta Centauri is visible at the lower left edge. TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times as much sky as shown in this image with its four cameras during its initial two-year search for exoplanets. A science-quality image, also referred to as a “first light” image, is expected to be released in June.