NASA's Planet Hunting Spacecraft has created a spectacular panorama of the Southern Sky showing our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
The Panorama contains 208 images taken by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) during its first year of science operations completed on 18 July. This celestial motion is a slightly broader view than usual for the mission, which is optimized to look at small planets as they pass in front of their parent stars and block the light from a bit of the stars.
"The analysis of TESS data focuses on individual stars and planets in succession, but I wanted to step back and emphasize everything at the same time to emphasize the spectacular views that TESS offers across the sky," said Ethan Kruse, a NASA A postdoctoral researcher who compiled the mosaic at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said in a statement:
Related: NASA's TESS Exoplanet Hunting Mission in Pictures
Video: Stunning Southern Sky Panorama Created with NASA TESS
Embedded In these pictures are 29 confirmed exoplanets that TESS has discovered so far, as well as 1,000 candidate worlds that astronomers want to confirm. (TESS observations in space are usually tracked using telescopes on the ground to verify the existence of an exoplanet.) The spacecraft also depicted a comet, stellar explosions (so-called supernovas), and even a star, that of a supermassive black is torn apart hole.
TESS got the pictures by splitting the southern sky into 13 sectors and then staring at every spot in the sky for almost a month. Each of the spacecraft-charged camera-mounted cameras recorded 15,347 30-minute scientific images. In total, TESS recorded more than 20 terabytes of data – that's almost 6,000 high-definition films. Now TESS is working on a one-year survey of the northern sky.