NASA Reveals Mesmerizing Panorama Of Northern Sky With ‘Sprawling Dark Nebula’

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KEY POINTS

  • NASA has revealed a panoramic image of the Northern Sky taken by TESS
  • TESS is a survey satellite with a purpose to discover exoplanets
  • With its newly improved data collection and processing, TESS will be able to take more precise observations on its next mission

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has taken about 208 photos of the Northern Sky, resulting in a mesmerizing panorama. NASA’s satellite which launched back in 2018 has captured about 75% of the sky in its two-year survey.

TESS, a survey satellite, has successfully carried out its purpose to hunt and discover exoplanets well beyond our solar system. To date, it has discovered 74 exoplanets. Astronomers are currently going through an additional 1,200 candidates, where most still await confirmation. About 600 of these exoplanets are found in the Northern Sky.

The Northern mosaic only displays a portion of the data TESS has returned. The satellite divided the celestial hemisphere into 13 sectors — capturing photos of each sector for nearly a month using four cameras, NASA noted. It would also capture photos of a full sector of the sky every 30 minutes. As a result, the survey satellite has brought back around 40 terabytes of data so far — equivalent to streaming 12,000 movies in high definition.

The image shows a region in the constellation Cygnus with the “sprawling dark nebula” Le Gentil 3 in the middle.  Among other notable celestial objects in the panorama are the glowing arc and obscuring dust clouds of the Milky Way; the Andromeda galaxy, about 2.5 million light-years away; and the North America Nebula.

TESS northern panorama, Cygnus This detail of the TESS northern panorama features a region in the constellation Cygnus. At center, the sprawling dark nebula Le Gentil 3, a vast cloud of interstellar dust, obscures the light of