NASA's TESS mission for planet hunting has only been examining the sky since July, but it is already making incredible discoveries.
In January, three discoveries of the exoplaneta were connected to the initial observations of TESS. Now, the data collected by TESS have located a new Saturn-sized planet.
TOI (Object of interest of TESS) 197.01 is considered a "hot Saturn". It is of similar size to this planet and orbits its host star at a narrow distance, turning it around every 14 days. This adjusted orbit creates a high surface temperature on the planet. The planet is described in an article that will be published in The Astronomical Journal.
Asteroseismologists discovered the planet by studying seismic waves called stars in stars where brightness seems to change. Astronomers can determine the age of the star, as well as its mass and its radius. The combination of these data with other observations reveals the properties of the exoplanets that orbit these host stars.
Exoplanet is a gaseous giant with a radius nine times higher than that of Earth and about 60 times the mass of the Earth. The host star has 5 billion years of age and is a little heavier and bigger than our sun.
"This is the first stack of water from the fire hose we receive from TESS," said Steve Kawaler, co-author of the study and professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa State, in a statement. "What is exciting is that TESS is the only game in the city for a while and the data are so good that we are planning to do science and that we have not thought. Perhaps we can also look at the very weak stars: white dwarfs , which are my first love and represent the future of our Sun and our solar system. "
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was launched in April to resume plantain hunt relief from the Kepler space telescope as the historic mission ended.
TESS keeps track of an area in the sky that is 400 times larger than Kepler observed, including 200,000 of the brightest closest stars. Over the course of two years, the four wide cameras on board will look at the different sectors of the sky for days and at the same time. This will allow scientists to examine almost the whole sky.
This week, a team of astronomers identified a list of what could be the most promising stars to support the planets of the habitable zone called TESS Habitable Zone Star Catalog, published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The catalog includes 1,822 stars that TESS could observe where there would be planets slightly larger than the Earth in the habitable zone of its star. The habitable zone, called Goldilocks Zone, is when the conditions are hot enough to allow liquid water to exist on the surface of the planet. Liquid water is the foundation of life as we know it.
"Life could exist in all kinds of worlds, but the kind we know can support life is ours, so it makes sense to search Earth-like planets first," said Lisa Kaltenegger, lead author and member of The TESS Science team at Cornell University, in a statement. "This catalog is important for TESS because anyone who works with data wants to know which stars we can find the nearest analogies of the Earth."
And 408 stars can support planets of the Earth's size that receive a similar amount of radiation that we receive from the sun.
"I have 408 new favorite stars," said Kaltenegger. "It's amazing that you do not have to choose just one; I will now look for hundreds of stars."
There is also a subset of 227 stars in the catalog where TESS can perform a wider search of Mars-like planets to provide a larger range of worlds in the universe.
"We do not know how many TESS planets will find around the hundreds of stars in our catalog or they will be habitable," said Kaltenegger. "But the odds are in our favor. Some studies indicate that there are many rocky planets in the living area of cool stars, like those in our catalog. We are glad to see what worlds we will find."
TESS will look for exoplanets using the traffic method, watching light falls in the brightness of the stars while the planets pass in front of them. Bright stars allow a simpler tracking studio through ground-based and space-based telescopes.
NASA expects TESS to allow the cataloging of more than 1,500 exoplanets, but it has the potential to find thousands. Of these, the officials anticipate that 300 will be exoplanets of earthquake or terrain super terrible. These planets could be the best candidates to support life outside of our solar system. Like the Earth, they are small, rocky and generally within the habitable zones of their stars, so that there may be superficial water.
TESS is considered a "bridge to the future", finding candidates for the exoplanet to study in more detail.
These exoplanets will be studied so that NASA can determine the best targets for missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope. This telescope, which was launched in 2021, would be able to characterize the details and atmospheres of exoplanets so that scientists have not been able to do so.