TESS found more than 5,000 potential exoplanets in three years of operation

TESS found more than 5,000 potential exoplanets in three years of operation

Recently, the TESS catalogue has reached 5,000 exoplanet candidates, also called TOI, TESS Opinions of Interest. These are the most interesting among those already confirmed.

Started in 2018, the search for an exoplanet using the TESS satellite now stands at 5,000; most of these likely worlds were observed by the method of transiting around weak stars.

Now there is hope to extend the mission of TESS to 2025 and beyond to re-observe interested stars and detect multiple planetary systems, which now scans the northern hemisphere and ecliptic plane in the hope of identifying more than 2,000 other possible planets by next year.

Care must be taken not to confuse an exoplanet candidate with a real exoplanet. In fact, although TESS identifies 5,000 planetal transit signals, it is necessary to confirm their nature by means of a special analysis. There are two possibilities:

  • Follow-up observations based on the radiance method. This method provides an estimate of the mass of the orbital object. It is based on the detection of the motion of the star because of the planet orbiting around it. The speed of this movement depends on the mass of disturbance. Therefore, depending on the mass, it is highly likely to determine the nature of the signal being observed. Apply the statistical verification method. The validation of the planet ' s nature is achieved by demonstrating that possible false scenarios that may arise in the search for a transit method are very unlikely compared to the explanation of the transit exoplanet for the signal being observed. This method has been confirmed by many candidates for exoplanets discovered by Cepler, a NASA space telescope whose mission has already been completed.

In the coming months, astronomers around the world will work to confirm the new signals received by TESS in the hope of updating the catalogue of confirmed planets opened by this space telescope.

Some of TESS's most exotic discoveries

Among the planets confirmed by the analysis of the data collected by the satellite, some are distinguished by their special characteristics, and among the more exotic we find:

ToI-2257b, the most eccentric transit planet ever seen around the star of the brown dwarf, but it's not only famous for that, but it's also one of the most promising targets for studying the atmosphere by James Webb's space telescope, so it can come back in the future with interesting new details about its composition.

TIC 179-200988b, one of the few circumbinary-type planets discovered, was the first to be discovered by TESS. The technology used requires only two planetary transits and... a little bit of luck. Perhaps some other planet orbiting two stars can be detected in the latest data collected by the telescope.

WD 1856b, a planet that survived the death of its star, was discovered randomly when it was found using TESS transit debris in front of white stars. Many theories were developed to explain its good fortune, including the possibility that another passing star would break its orbit.

In the future, it is likely that TESS will show the existence of equally special planets, reaffirming that the worlds outside our solar system are the most diverse.