NASA TESS spacecraft has been in the room for almost a year now, and it is powerful imaging tools that are definitely being put to work. As we saw with last year's first series of snapshots from NASA, TESS is able to monitor much of the sky in detail and the work that is just being paid off in a big way.
TESS, which stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, detects exoplanets by detecting changes in the star's brightness these planet orbits. In a new paper, researchers explain how the star survey led to what is considered the first major exoplanet discovery by TESS.
The scientists who originally discovered the object, called TOI 197.01 (TOI means "TESS Object of Interest") originally studied a phenomenon known as "starquakes", which are seismic waves that roll across stars and cause a shift in their brightness.
Instead of finding a starquake, the team suddenly saw signs on a planet moving between the ground and the host star. By studying changes in the light of the star as it shines around the world, scientists have been able to narrow their possible makeup.
TESS collects an absolutely huge amount of data for researchers to seep through, and missions like this tend to continue to provide new discoveries for months or even years after spacecraft's jobs are packed. The TESS original mission length is expected to be only two years, but it will probably be extended if the satellite shows that it can still operate at a high level.