The NASA TESS telescope has found its first earth-sized exoplanet. In the system, which is only 53 light-years from Earth, HD 21749c needs about eight Earth days to orbit its star, reports the Carnegie
As a new NASA exoplanet hunter, TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) was launched in April of last year by the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida. The Space Telescope will continue Kepler’s seminal work, researchers expect thousands of new exoplanets in all directions. For each TESS takes a broad sky region for at least 27 days and checks the stars for blackouts. Because of this, the probe will find especially exoplanets orbiting their star in ten days or less, but many much closer than Kepler’s exoplanets. TESS finds so-called candidates, which are then confirmed by follow-up analyzes of astronomers.
Further exploration easy
All in all, ten of the potential exoplanets found by TESS have been confirmed in this way and hundreds of candidates are currently being tested, writes NASA . The two exoplanets of the star HD 21749 have been confirmed by Carnegie researchers using Las Campanas Observatory instruments in Chile. HD 21749b, the larger of the two, requires 36 days for an orbit, longer than any other exoplanet discovered by TESS.
The researchers now want to focus on HD 21749c to determine its exact mass and composition and to be able to make better comparisons to Earth. Because the exoplanets discovered with Kepler are significantly further away from us than HD 21749c, the researchers predict that these analyzes may soon be successful. Because this star system is much easier to explore, the exact mass of an Earth-sized exoplanet could then be determined for the first time, adds the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also involved.