NASA's mission of planet-hunting TESS has only been watching the sky since July, but is already creating amazing discoveries.
In January, the first three discoveries are related to the first observations of TESS. Now the data gathered by TESS finds a new planet of the size of Saturn.
TOI (TESS object of interest) 197.01 is considered to be "hot Saturn". The size is similar to that planet and circles around its host star at a small distance, circling every 14 days. This narrow orbit creates a high surface temperature on the planet. The planet is described in a paper that will be published in The Astronomical Journal.
Asteroseismologists have discovered the planet by studying seismic waves called stars in the stars where the light moves. Astronomers can determine the star's age, its mass and radius. Combining this data with other observations reveals the properties of an exoplanet that orbits these host stars.
The exoplanet is a gas giant with a radius of nine times bigger than Earth and about 60 times the mass of Earth. The host star is 5 billion years old and is somewhat heavier and bigger than our sun.
"This is the first amount of water from the fire brigade we get from Tess," said Steve Kawaler, co-author of the study and professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa. "What's exciting is that TESS is the only game in the city for a while and the data is so good that we are planning to try to make a science we did not think. Maybe we can also look at the very weak stars – white dwarves – which are my first love and represent the future of our Sun and the Sun. "
The satellite survey Survey Exoplanet was launched in April to pick up a planet-hunting stick from the Space Telescope Kepler after the end of this historic mission.
TESS explores an area in the sky that is 400 times larger than what Kepler observed, including 200,000 of the brightest nearby stars. Over two years, four broad-field cameras on board will look at different parts of the sky for days. This will allow scientists to explore almost the entire sky.
This week, the team of astronomers identified a list of what could be the most promising stars for planet support in the living area called the Tess Movable Zone Catalog Catalog, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The Catalog includes 1822 stars. TESS could see where the planets would be somewhat larger than the Earth existed in the zone of their star life. The usable zone, called the Zlatokos zone, is when the conditions are warm enough to allow the flow of liquid water to the surface of the planet. Liquid water is the foundation of life we know.
"Life could exist in all kinds of worlds, but the kind we know can support life is ours, so it's important to look for Earth-like planets first," said Lisa Kaltenegger, lead author and member of TESS Science Team Cornell University, in a statement. "This catalog is important to TESS because everyone who works with data wants to know which star we can find the closest Earth's analogues."
A star 408 can support Earth-size planets that receive the same amount of radiation we receive from the sun.
"I have 408 new favorite stars," Kaltenegger said. "It's unbelievable I do not have to pick one, I'm looking for hundreds of stars now."
There is also a subset of 227 stars in the catalog, where TESS can carry out a wider search for cooler planets similar to Mars to provide a larger range of worlds in the universe.
"We do not know how many TESS planets will find about a hundred stars in our catalog or they will be alive," Kaltenegger said. – But chances are in our favor. Some studies point to the fact that in the zones of pleasing stars, like those in our catalog, there are many stone planets. We are happy to see what we will find in the world. "
TESS will look for exoplanets using the transit method, observing a slight decline in stars' brightness as the planets pass by. Bright stars allow easier monitoring of the study through terrestrial and space telescopes.
NASA expects TESS to enable cataloging more than 1,500 exoplanets, but has the potential to find thousands. Of them, officials are expected, 300 will be an exoplanet of Earth's size or a super-Earth-sized Earth. These planets can be the best candidates to support life beyond our solar system. Like Earth, they are small, rocky, and usually within the settling zones of their stars, which means that liquid water can exist on the surface.
TESS is considered a "bridge to the future," finding an exoplanet candidate to study more closely.
These exoplanets will be studied so that NASA can determine the best targets for missions like the Space Telescope James Webb. This telescope, which was launched in 2021, could describe the details and the atmosphere of the exoplanet in ways that scientists could not do.