The National Digest

Planet Hunting Telescope Celebrates One Year Of Space-Based Science

NASA’s TESS space telescope will look for “cosmic winks” as a sign of planets outside our solar system. Photo: NASA

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, identifies planets outside our solar system by staring at the stars. When a planet passes between the star and the spacecraft, the light of that star dims. TESS measures the dip in light — and scientists can use that data to determine what kind of planet is causing the dimming.

This diagram shows the layout of the GJ 357 system. Planet d orbits within the star’s so-called habitable zone, the orbital region where liquid water can exist on a rocky planet’s surface. Photo: NASA

This week, NASA announced TESS has found a new planet about 31 light years away that exists in the so-called habitable zone — meaning it’s the right distance away from its host start to have liquid water.

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