Transcripts of 13285_TESS_SouthernSky_Small_720

[Music throughout] TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, has completed its survey of the southern sky. To do this, TESS divided the southern sky into 13 sectors, and its four cameras monitored each sector for nearly a month. TESS was watching for the slight dips in starlight as distant planets passed in front of their host stars, but it also caught other transient events like comets and supernovae, in addition to building a beautiful panoramic picture of the sky. The bright band on the left is the Milky Way, our home galaxy viewed edge-on. Zooming into the mosaic, it’s clear how much detail and how many stars TESS has captured. At the center is the continuous viewing zone, where the view of one TESS camera overlaps all 13 sectors. Within it is the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the closest galaxies to our own. A little farther out is the more distant Small Magellanic Cloud, flanked by a ball of stars, the bright globular cluster NGC 104. Silhouetted by the band of the Milky Way is the Coalsack Nebula, an obscuring cloud of dust in the constellation Crux, also known as the Southern Cross. The mosaic also contains many notable stars such as Alpha Centauri, one of our closest neighboring systems and among the brightest stars in the sky … Fomalhaut, which hosts one of the first directly imaged planets … Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky … and Betelgeuse, a red super-giant star that marks one shoulder of the constellation Orion. The Orion Nebula, a vast nursery where stars are born, was imaged in great detail by the Hubble Space Telescope. This isn’t a cosmic object at all. It’s actually a reflection of Rigel, the bright star marking one of Orion’s feet, and it’s caused by light scattering off part of the camera system. TESS’s confirmed exoplanet discoveries are currently distributed all around the southern sky. Many of these discoveries are actually multiplanet systems, and several are Earth-size. Many more candidate exoplanets await confirmation. It’s easy to see which sectors were among the first, because astronomers have had more time to study and find potential transits. Eventually, candidate and confirmed planets will be distributed more evenly around the sky. TESS has now turned around and is observing the northern sky using the same strategy. As it does, astronomers will continue to sift through roughly 20 terabytes of data from the southern hemisphere, as well as the new incoming information. Eventually, hundreds or even thousands of distant worlds will owe their discovery to TESS. [Explore: Solar system & beyond] [NASA]