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2019-01-07. Another Day, Another Exoplanet: NASA’s TESS Keeps Counting More.

posted Jan 8, 2019, 9:20 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Jan 12, 2019, 5:17 PM ]
By Dennis Overbye, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/science/exoplanets-tess-nasa.html] For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 8. Excerpt: NASA’s new planet-hunting machine, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is racking up scores of alien worlds. Less than a quarter of the way through a two-year search for nearby Earthlike worlds, TESS has already discovered 203 possible planets, according to George R. Ricker, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the leader of the project. Three of those candidates already have been confirmed as real planets by ground-based telescopes. ...All of these worlds would be located within 300 light years from here, our cosmic backyard, and close enough to be inspected by future telescopes, such as NASA’s ever-upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, for signs of atmospheres, habitability and, perhaps, life. ...In the last three decades, and aided by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have concluded that there are billions of planets, including potentially habitable rocky worlds like Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy. The closest one, astronomers calculate, could be just 10 or 15 light years from here.... See also:

2019-01-07. ‘Mini-Neptune’ found orbiting distant star, by Sid Perkins. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/01/mini-neptune-found-orbiting-distant-star]