Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Current Affairs - 2020

TOI 270: NASA’s TESS discovers

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently discovered new dwarf star and planetary system named as TOI 270. It is located about 73 light years away from Earth, and in the constellation Pictor.

TOI 270 Planetary System

Its members include Dwarf star named TOI 270, which is 40 % smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and three exoplanets (planets outside solar system) that have been named TOI 270b, TOI 270c and TOI 270d.  These three planets orbit their star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively.

TOI 270b is innermost planet and is expected to be a rocky world about 25% bigger than Earth. It is not habitable (or within Goldilocks Zone) since it is located too close to star — about 13 times closer than our Solar System’s Mercury is from Sun. On other hand, TOI 270c and TOI 270 d are Neptune-like planets because their compositions are dominated by gases rather than rock.

NASA’s Exoplanet Mission Finds 1st Earth-Size Alien World

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission of NASA has discovered its first Earth-size alien world.

About the Discovery

  • The planet, HD 21749c, is about 89 per cent of Earth’s diameter.
  • The planet orbits HD 21749, a K-type star with about 70 per cent of the Sun’s mass located 53 light years away in the southern constellation Reticulum.
  • HD 21749c is the second planet TESS has identified in the system.
  • HD 21749c is the 10th confirmed planet discovered by TESS, and hundreds of additional candidates are now being studied.
  • HD 21749c doesn’t seem to have good life-hosting potential as it circles its host star very tightly, completing one orbit every 7.8 Earth days, and is therefore probably quite hot.

TESS which was launched just about a year ago is already a game-changer in the planet-hunting business. TESS total tally is likely to end up topping that of Kepler has found about 70% of the 4,000 exoplanets discovered to date.