NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) took this snapshot of the Large Magellanic Cloud (right) and the bright star R Doradus (left) with just a single detector of one of its cameras on Aug. 7, 2018. The frame is part of a swath of the southern sky TESS captured in its "first light" science image as part of its initial round of data collection.
Credit: NASA/MIT/TESS "This swath of the sky's southern hemisphere includes more than a dozen stars [that] we know have transiting planets, based on previous studies from ground observatories," TESS principal investigator George Ricker, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a NASA statement.
The test image was taken over a 30-minute period on Aug. 7, using all four of TESS' cameras. The field of view includes bits of a dozen constellations, as well as a handful of targets well-known to amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere. The targets include the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds — the galaxies closest to Earth — as well as 47 Tucanae (NGC 104), a globular cluster of old stars. TESS captured this strip of stars and galaxies in the southern sky during one 30-minute period on Aug. 7, 2018. Created by combining the view from all four of its cameras, this is TESS’ "first light," from the first observing sector that will be used for identifying planets around other stars. Notable features in this swath of the southern sky include the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and a globular cluster called NGC 104, also known as 47 Tucanae. The brightest stars in the image, Beta Gruis and R Doradus, saturated an entire column of camera detector pixels on the satellite's second and fourth cameras.
The image also includes two bright stars called Beta Gruis and R Doradus, which saturated the pixels nearby them and caused spikes of light, NASA officials said.
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