Hunt for planets proceeds with TESS telescope

Space Science

MYSTERY WIRE — Astronomers could discover more than 10,000 planets in our galaxy as the TESS telescope examines nearby stars.

NASA’s search is on, according an article by University of Arizona astronomy professor Daniel Apai and Benjamin Rackham of MIT. The article appears on theconversation.com.

The report says 29 planets have already been confirmed, and another 1,200 “planetary candidates” have been discovered in just over a year. The effort is paying special attention to planets in the “habitable” zone, with properties similar to our planet: land surface, water and an atmosphere.

The telescope is capable of spotting planets by the variations in starlight as orbiting planets pass in front of their host star.

A planet named Proxima b, discovered in 2016 orbiting Proxima Centauri — that’s Earth’s next-door neighbor — has scientists talking because it very likely has a rocky composition similar to Earth.

Read the full story here.

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