NASA’s planet-hunting TESS satellite just took a photo that will make you feel so, so tiny


NASA’s newly-launched TESS — that stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in case you were wondering — is an incredibly powerful piece of hardware. It was designed to hunt down planets from other planetary systems, and in order to do that it needs some seriously beefy imaging capabilities. After a delay forced the launch to be rescheduled, TESS finally made it into space on April 18th. Now, NASA is showing off just what its incredible camera is capable of.

Scientists took a two-second test photo using one of the four cameras installed on TESS in order to make sure that everything is working as intended. The photo isn’t particularly pretty, as it’s only a black-and-white snapshot, but it still demonstrates how incredibly sensitive the imaging tools are. I mean, just look at this.

“The image, centered on the southern constellation Centaurus, reveals more than 200,000 stars,” NASA explains in a post. “The edge of the Coalsack Nebula is in the right upper corner and the bright star Beta Centauri is visible at the lower left edge. TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times as much sky as shown in this image with its four cameras during its initial two-year search for exoplanets.”- READ MORE

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