NASA’s TESS mission finds 21 new planets (Photo Credit: NASA)
We all have heard that there are hundreds of planets exist in the space. Also, we have heard so much about aliens. Well, astronomers from across the globe have been working hard to find the planets and some sorts of small life-forms on other habitable planets around the cosmos. And now, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has found 21 new worlds in its first year outside our solar system. Isn’t it great? It is to be noted that NASA’s TESS mission was designed to hunt alien planets.
The high-tech telescope, which is now halfway through its primary mission, has gathered ample of data to let astronomers identify 21 new exoplanets. However, the instrument, which is formally called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, has done more. The telescope has also mastered in the art of catching asteroids and comets — even comets in other solar systems. It is worth mentioning here that the TESS has recorded flashes from six different supernovas marking the explosions of dead stars.
Before we move ahead, check the exciting videos of 21 new planets spotted by NASA’s TESS mission:
"The pace and productivity of TESS in its first year of operations has far exceeded our most optimistic hopes for the mission," George Ricker, TESS's principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a statement. "In addition to finding a diverse set of exoplanets, TESS has discovered a treasure trove of astrophysical phenomena, including thousands of violently variable stellar objects."
TESS began hunting for exoplanets (or worlds orbiting distant stars) in the southern sky in July of 2018, while also collecting data on supernovae, black holes and other phenomena in its line of sight. Along with the 21 planets TESS has discovered, the mission has identified over 850 candidate exoplanets that are waiting for confirmation by ground-based telescopes.
After discovering 21 new planets and data on other interesting events occurring in the southern sky during its first year of science, TESS has now turned its attention to the Northern Hemisphere to complete the most comprehensive planet-hunting expedition ever undertaken.
“Kepler discovered the amazing result that, on average, every star system has a planet or planets around it,” said Padi Boyd, TESS project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “TESS takes the next step. If planets are everywhere, let’s find those orbiting bright, nearby stars because they’ll be the ones we can now follow up with existing ground and space-based telescopes, and the next generation of instruments for decades to come.”