“Analysis of TESS data focuses on individual stars and planets one at a time, but I wanted to step back and highlight everything at once, really emphasizing the spectacular view TESS gives us of the entire sky,” said Ethan Kruse, a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of a new mosaic of the southern sky produced from a year of observations that includes supernova, red giant Betelgeuse, Orion Nebula, satellite galaxies, and the flare from a star ripped apart by a supermassive black hole.
The glow of the Milky Way — our galaxy seen edgewise — arcs across a sea of stars in the video below was constructed from 208 TESS images taken during the mission’s first year of science operations, completed on July 18. The southern panorama reveals both the beauty of the cosmic landscape and the reach of TESS’s cameras.
Within this scene, TESS has discovered 29 exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system, and more than 1,000 candidate planets astronomers are now investigating.
TESS divided the southern sky into 13 sectors and imaged each one of them for nearly a month using four cameras, which carry a total of 16 charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Remarkably, the TESS cameras capture a full sector of the sky every 30 minutes as part of its search for exoplanet transits. Transits occur when a planet passes in front of its host star from our perspective, briefly and regularly dimming its light. During the satellite’s first year of operations, each of its CCDs captured 15,347 30-minute science images. These images are just a part of more than 20 terabytes of southern sky data TESS has returned, comparable to streaming nearly 6,000 high-definition movies.
After completing its southern survey, TESS turned north to begin a year-long study of the northern sky.
The Daily Galaxy-Great Discoveries Channel, Jim Lane, via Goddard Space Flight Center