NASA are about to launch a planet-hunting telescope on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After missing their launch window back on March 20 – they’re going to give it another crack. Here’s how and when you can watch it happen.
Exoplanets have been a hot topic over the last few years, particularly ones may be able to support human life one day. And this is exactly what the Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is going to be looking for.
TESS has been likened to Kepler, which has been responsible for finding thousands of exoplanets since it launched back in 2009. But one of the key differences between the two is that TESS will be capable of watching almost the entirety of the visible night sky.
TESS’ four cameras will monitor the brightest stars in its field of vision, looking for decreases in brightness that are often caused by orbiting planets. These will be catalogued for followup and further study.
Timing is crucial for the launch, which is happening at on April 16 at 6:32pm Florida time. This converts to 8:32am April 17 in AEST. So, tomorrow morning!
There is only a thirty second window of opportunity for the rocket to take advantage of an imperative gravitational assist from the moon. If they miss it they will need to wait for the moon to come back around. Again.
At midnight AEST on April 17 there will be a half-hour live show with the NASA Edge team, where they will discuss TESS, as well as the science of searching for planets outside our solar system.
The live coverage will then begin at 8am AEST on April 17, with the launch time scheduled for 8:32am AEST. Both programs can be watched live on the NASA website. If any YouTube or other links pop up, we will update and embed them below.