The Hunt For New Life

TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) will examine 400,000 stars across the sky to capture a glimpse of a planet moving across its star’s face. The TESS Habitable Zone Star Catalog contains the most promising target stars identified by a team of astronomers from Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and Lehigh University. The lead author of the catalog is Professor Lisa Kaltenegger of Cornell.

The TESS Catalog identifies a total of 1,822 stars. TESS is sensitive enough to spot them, indicating planets that have conditions close to that of Earth. They are just a bit bigger than our planet. According to Kaltenegger, the catalog is important for TESS. Anyone working on the data will be able to spot the analogs that resemble Earth. The catalog also enables astronomers to examine and explore the diverse environments of worlds that are possibly habitable. These planets are indicated by the stars TESS identifies.

The team selects the stars according to their brightness. It then places those stars in the catalog. The bright and cool stars, with 2,700 to 5,000 degrees Kelvin, are usually pinpointed.

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