Who Will Be The Next Great Exo-Planet Hunter?

Gaia of TESS?  Who will it be?

 

Although Gaia’s main mission isn’t to find exo-planets, the 3D imaging of billions of stars will have the side affect of finding exo-planets…a lot of exo-planets.

But the contender, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft’s main mission is to the entire sky for exo-planets.

The mission is set to be the first all-sky survey over a two year period to search both hemispheres of the sky for nearby exo-planets.

During its first two years, TESS will observe several hundred thousand specially chosen stars looking light curves indicating an exo-planet candidate. During the third year of the mission, ground-based observatories will continue monitoring the exo-planets found by TESS to confirm the exo-planets existence.

TESS is expected to find more than 5,000 exoplanet candidates, including 50 Earth-sized planets.

NASA Exoplanet Missions

TESS is one of a series of missions designed to search for life on other planets.

In addition to ground based observatories, the candidates will be observed by the James Webb telescope once it is launched.

TESS is a follow-up to the Kepler mission, which searched for exo-planets in a fixed area of the sky. Because the TESS mission surveys the entire sky, TESS is expected to find exoplanets much closer to Earth, making them easier for further study.

Someday soon, ET may actually be found.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

ESA’s Spacecraft On Track To Find Even More Planets.

The recently launched Gaia spacecraft could detect could 21,000 exoplanets during its five year mission to construct a 3D space catalog of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects.

 

When Gaia reached its final mission point, the spacecraft literally turned its back on us.

That’s because the Sun  shade, deployed after launch, generates power for the craft and blocks the sunlight, giving the optics a perfect view of the galaxy.

Although its primary mission is to map stars, a byproduct of all the images taken will be data that can be attributed to exoplanets.  Due to the accuracy of the images that GAIA will take, a lot of new science is bound to be discovered.  Researchers haven’t even finished processing the data from Kepler, so this will keep everyone busy even longer.

Exciting times ahead.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Gaia Is Go!

Gaia, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) unmanned astrometry spacecraft has taken its first image.

As I told you before, Gaia’s mission is make a 3D space catalogue of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects.  It sounds like a lot, but that is only about 1% of the Milky Way!

File:Gaia observatory trajectory.svg

Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a period of five years from its L2 vantage point.

So what does a billion pixel image look like?

LMC

Pretty good for a warmup.  The final results should be spectacular.  Not the pictures (this isn’t that kind of mission), but the data collected giving us the accurate distances and relative motions of the tracked objects.  But some of the images may be spruced up a bit to make good copy.

And, if you remember my post from a few days ago, Gaia will be using parallax trigonometric techniques (like a parsec!) to measure the objects distance from us.  See! There is a madness to my method, or

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Mother Earth Rising.

The European Space Agency launched the Gaia satellite last week.

Gaia is the personification of Earth in Greek mythology.

But this Gaia, is designed to map the Milky Way in 3D.  Which should look really good on my 3D TV when the movie comes out.

From it vantage point at the L2 Lagrange point, Gaia will measure the motions of the stars in the galaxy orbiting  around the super-massive black hole at the center .

Like the original Star Trek television series, Gaia’s five year mission is to measure light curves and position information over time for all the stars in the galaxy.  This highly accurate information over time will determine distances for each star that will be used to make a more accurate 3D model of the galaxy.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman