Thursday, September 20, 2018

Photos of the Day #2: NASA Releases 'First Light' Images That Were Taken by the Parker Solar Probe and TESS!

A 'first light' image of our Milky Way galaxy that was taken by the Parker Solar Probe's Wide-field Imager...on September 9, 2018.
NASA / Naval Research Laboratory / Parker Solar Probe

Space enthusiasts everywhere were treated to amazing new images taken by the recently-launched Parker Solar Probe and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) this week. In the snapshot above, you see our Milky Way galaxy as it was glimpsed by Parker's Wide-field Imager on September 9. In the snapshot below, you see the 'first light' science image that was taken by TESS on August 7 (the satellite's first light test image was publicly released a few months ago). In other amazing TESS-related news, NASA announced that its newest planet hunter has already pinpointed two new exoplanet candidates: a super-Earth orbiting around the bright star Pi Mensae about 60 light-years away, and a 'hot Earth' revolving around LHS 3844—an M dwarf star 49 light-years away. Astronomers need to confirm these two planetary discoveries with follow-up observations, but all signs point to TESS beginning to live up to expectations about five months after its launch!

The Parker Solar Probe, meanwhile, is expected to make its first flyby of Venus on October 3 before cruising through the Sun's corona for the first time in November. Stay tuned.

A 'first light' science image showing a sea of stars and the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, as viewed by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite on August 7, 2018.

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