Posts Tagged ‘system’

Detecting New Planets

May 2, 2020

News article posted on by Rebekah Hounsell, Knicole Colon

Time flies — it has already been two years since TESS launched into space! Since launching on April 18, 2018, TESS has mapped out a significant fraction of the night sky, confirmed the existence of 45 exoplanets, found more than 1700 planet candidates, and been used to examine the variability of countless sources such as active galactic nuclei and supernovae.

Before science operations even began in July 2018, TESS managed to capture a set of images showing the motion of the comet C/2018N1, illustrating TESS’s unique ability to collect a set of stable periodic images covering a wide region of the sky.

Within the first few months of operation, TESS demonstrated its planet hunting abilities by detecting its first three exoplanets: a planet named Pi Mensae c, which is twice the size of the Earth and orbits its Sun like star every six days; LHS 3844 b, a rocky planet located in the constellation Indus, at a distance of only 49 light years; a dense non-rocky planet named HD 21749 b, which is three times the size of the Earth and 23 times more massive, making the planet more dense than Neptune.

TESS discovered its first Earth-size planet in the habitable zone, which was announced in early 2020. The planet named TOI 700 d orbits a cool M dwarf star approximately 40% the mass and size of the Sun and is just over 100 light years away in the southern constellation of Draco. To date TOI 700 d is one of only a few planets discovered within a system’s habitable zone.

TESS also detected its first circumbinary planetary system in 2019. The planet, TOI 1338 b, is a world that orbits two stars in the constellation of Pictor, at a distance of 1300 light years. The two stars orbit each other every 15 days – one is 10% more massive than the Sun whilst the other is cooler and dimmer at 1/3 the size of the Sun. TOI 1338 b is believed to be the only planet in the system and is almost 7 times larger than the Earth.

Apart from hunting for planets, TESS, with its almost all-sky survey capability and high-cadenced observations, is a great tool to study the variable universe. TESS watched a star being torn apart by a black hole in a phenomenon known as a tidal disruption event (TDE). This event was named ASASSN-19bt as it was first identified by the ground-based All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae. The data provided by TESS allowed the astronomical community to view the light from the event much closer to the black hole than ever before!

TESS has also been used to create detailed high-cadenced light curves of supernovae (SNe). Recent work presented 18 early time light curves of Type Ia SNe occurring in the first six sectors of TESS data. SN Ia are one of our most mature cosmological probes, however we still do not have a firm understanding of the progenitor systems. The detailed early time observations of these transient events by TESS are extremely important and can provide vital information in understanding these systems.

The science highlighted here represents only a small amount of the incredible science to have come out of the TESS prime mission to date, thanks to efforts of both the TESS mission team and the TESS community. So what is next for TESS? The two-year prime mission will end in July 2020, and given the success of TESS, the mission has now been extended for a further two years through October 2022. TESS will remain as NASA’s key planet hunter, but it will also continue to provide the high-quality wide-field survey data required for the exploration of many different kinds of variable and transient events in the night sky — part of which is shown below in the mosaic of the southern sky as seen by TESS.


Names of most recent E.T. visitors

January 16, 2018

Latest visitors to the SSSC, continuing contact with the Ban Srut on Earth:

recent visitors to SSSC



Alleged Alien Research Base on Pluto

July 14, 2015

This is the location of Mantuk’s base, but seems that NASA is softening its colors in this poor resolution photo… as always…

pluto crater mantuk base zoom

pluto mantuk base

Solar System Scope

February 1, 2015

Hey space fans, you definitely want to check out to tour our solar system and play around.

Thanks to Ben of Suspicious0bservers for the tip!


Mythi update 122

September 19, 2014

Tour of planets orbiting single stars- 1 min. vid

May 8, 2014

Soft Disclosure on Saturn’s artificial moon Iapetus photo’d 10 years ago

April 24, 2014

Saturn Moon’s Weird Ridge Rained Down from SpaceBy Ian O’Neill, Discovery News   |   April 24, 2014 10:17am ET

Ceres asteroid vents water vapour

January 22, 2014

By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News

Ceres impression
An artist’s impression of water out-gassing from two sources on Ceres

Observations of the Solar System’s biggest asteroid suggest it is spewing plumes of water vapour into space.

Ceres has long been thought to contain substantial quantities of ice within its body, but this is the first time such releases have been detected.

The discovery was made by Europe’s infrared Herschel space telescope, and is reported in the journal Nature.

Scientists believe the vapour is coming from dark coloured regions on Ceres’ surface, but are not sure of the cause.

One idea is that surface, or near-surface, ice is being warmed by the Sun, turning it directly to a gas that then escapes to space.

“Another possibility,” says the European Space Agency’s Michael Kuppers, “is that there is still some energy in the interior of Ceres, and this energy would make the water vent out in a similar way as for geysers on Earth, only that with the low pressure at the surface of the asteroid, what comes out would be a vapour and not a liquid.”

The quantity being out-gassed is not great – just 6kg per second – but the signature is unmistakable to Herschel, which was perfectly tuned to detect water molecules in space.

The telescope’s observations were made before its decommissioning last year.

Ceres pictured by Hubble Currently, our best image of Ceres comes from the Hubble Space Telescope

Scientists will get a better idea of what is going on in 2015, when Ceres is visited by the American space agency’s Dawn probe.

The satellite will go into orbit around the 950km-wide body, mapping its surface and determining its composition and structure.

“It will be able to observe those dark regions at high resolution, and will probably solve the question of what process is creating the water vapour,” explained Dr Kuppers.

Ceres is often now referred to as a “dwarf planet” – the same designation used to describe Pluto following its demotion from full planet status in 2006.

The asteroid’s sheer size means gravity has pulled it into a near-spherical form.

It is regarded as quite a primitive body in that it has clearly not undergone the same heating and processing of its materials that the many other objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter have experienced.

Scientists suspect water-ice is buried under Ceres’ crust because its density is less than that of the Earth’s. And this reputation as a “wet body” is supported by the presence of a lot of minerals at its surface that have water bound into their structure.

One theory to explain why Ceres has so much more water-ice than other members of the surrounding asteroid population is that it formed further away from the Sun, and only later migrated to its present location.

This could have happened if perturbed by Jupiter, whose gravity plays a key role in corralling the asteroids in the belt they occupy today.

“We now have a more sophisticated model for the evolution of the Solar System called the Nice model, which successfully explains many of the features of the Solar System, with the planets having migrated outwards and then maybe also inwards,” said Dr Kuppers. and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos



Alien planet count passes 1,000 mark

January 1, 2014

Our galaxy likely harbors at least 160 billion alien worlds.

Mike Wall, Senior Writer


C. Pulliam & D. Aguilar (CfA)
This artist’s illustration represents the variety of planets being detected by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
Scientists now say that one in six stars hosts an Earth-size planet.

Just two decades after first spotting planets orbiting a star other than our own sun, astronomers have notched a big milestone — the 1,000th alien planet.

Two of the five main databases that catalog exoplanet discoveries list 1,010 confirmed alien worlds as of today (Oct. 23, 2013). That’s a lot of progress since 1992, when researchers found the first-ever exoplanets orbiting a spinning neutron star, or pulsar.

“The discovery of many worlds around other stars is a great achievement of science and technology. The work of scientists and engineers from many countries were necessary to achieve this difficult milestone,” Abel Mendez Torres, of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Planetary Habitability Laboratory, said in a statement Tuesday (Oct. 22). [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]

“However, 1,000 exoplanets in two decades is still a small fraction of those expected from the billions of stars in our galaxy,” he added. “The next big goal is to better understand their properties, while detecting many new ones.”

Indeed, the current tally is likely just the tip of the exoplanet iceberg. For example, a study published last year estimated that every star in the Milky Way hosts 1.6 planets on average — meaning that our galaxy likely harbors at least 160 billion alien worlds.

And those are just the planets with obvious parent stars. Another recent study calculated that “rogue planets” — those that cruise through space apparently unbound to any star — may outnumber “normal” worlds by 50 percent or so.

The number of confirmed planets should continue its dramatic upward swing in the near future as astronomers continue to hone their techniques and analyze data collected by instruments on the ground and in space.

The most prolific of these instruments is NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, whose planet-hunting mission came to an end this past May after four years when the second of its four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed. Kepler has flagged nearly 3,600 planet candidates to date.   Just 156 of them have been confirmed so far, but mission scientists expect at least 90 percent will end up being the real deal.

The five main exoplanet-discovery databases, and their current tallies, are: the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia (1,010); the Exoplanets Catalog, run by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory (1,010); the NASA Exoplanet Archive (919); the Exoplanet Orbit Database (755); and the Open Exoplanet Catalog (948).

The different numbers reported by the databases reflect the uncertainties inherent in exoplanet detection and confirmation.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on

Oct. 24, 2013 at 2:22 PM ET


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