NASA exoplanet hunter racks up bizarre worlds and exploding stars - Nature.com
Nature.com - Tue 8 Jan 04:37 GMT

NASA exoplanet hunter racks up bizarre worlds and exploding stars - Nature.com

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has identified at least eight planets, including a world with a mass more than 20 times that of Earth.

  Just nine months after launch, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has found at least eight planets, with more than 300 planetary candidates waiting in the wings.

  The newly described planet whizzes around its star on a stretched-out orbit once every 36 days, says Xu Chelsea Huang, a TESS scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

  Details on another 20 to 30 planets discovered by TESS are on the verge of being published, Huang says.

  Because TESS stares nonstop at one slice of the sky for 27 days, then moves to a neighbouring slice, it captures an unprecedented view of these exploding stars as they brighten and then dim.

  His team is in the process of writing a proposal to NASA asking that TESS's mission be extended past its initial first two years.