The transiting exoplanet survey satellite

G. R. Ricker, R. Vanderspek, J. Winn, S. Seager, Z. Berta-Thompson, A. Levine, J. Villasenor, D. Latham, D. Charbonneau, M. Holman, J. Johnson, D. Sasselov, A. Szentgyorgyi, G. Torres, G. Bakos, T. Brown, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, H. Kjeldsen, M. Clampin, S. RinehartD. Deming, J. Doty, E. Dunham, S. Ida, N. Kawai, B. Sato, J. Jenkins, J. Lissauer, G. Jernigan, L. Kaltenegger, G. Laughlin, D. Lin, P. McCullough, N. Narita, J. Pepper, K. Stassun, S. Udry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

75 Scopus citations


The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search the solar neighborhood for planets transiting bright stars. TESS has been selected by NASA for launch in 2017 as an Astrophysics Explorer mission. The spacecraft will be placed into a highly elliptical 13.7-day orbit around the Earth. During its two-year mission, TESS will employ four wide-field optical CCD cameras to monitor at least 200,000 main-sequence dwarf stars with IC ≤ 13 for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Each star will be observed for an interval ranging from one month to one year, depending on the star's ecliptic latitude. The longest observing intervals will be for stars near the ecliptic poles, which are the optimal locations for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope. Brightness measurements of preselected target stars will be recorded every 2 min, and full frame images will be recorded every 30 min. TESS stars will be 10-100 times brighter than those surveyed by the pioneering Kepler mission. This will make TESS planets easier to characterize with follow-up observations. TESS is expected to find more than a thousand planets smaller than Neptune, including dozens that are comparable in size to the Earth. Public data releases will occur every four months, inviting immediate community-wide efforts to study the new planets. The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting planets, which will endure as highly favorable targets for detailed investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
EditorsHoward A. MacEwen, Giovanni G. Fazio, Makenzie Lystrup
ISBN (Electronic)9781510601871
StatePublished - 2016
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jul 1 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Exoplanet
  • Extrasolar planet
  • Photometry
  • Satellite
  • Transit


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