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Cataloging and Observing Nearly Every Optically Luminous Object in the Sky with TESS
November 6, 201711:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

Cataloging and Observing Nearly Every Optically Luminous Object in the Sky with TESS


Ryan Oelkers (Vanderbilt University)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be conducting a nearly all-sky, photometric survey over the course of two years, with a core mission goal of discovering small transiting exoplanets orbiting nearby, bright stars. It will obtain 30-minute cadence observations of all objects in the TESS fields-of-view, along with 2-minute cadence observations of 200,000 to 400,000 selected stars. The choice of which stars to observe at the 2-minute cadence is driven by the need to detect small transiting planets, and prioritizes the selection of bright, cool dwarfs. Essential to the success of the TESS mission is the creation of the TESS Input Catalog (TIC). The TIC contains every optically luminous, persistent object in the sky, within the limits of available point and extended source catalogs, in order to enable target selection and determine flux contamination in a given TESS aperture. While the primary science goal of the survey is the detection of new exoplanets, the survey’s all-sky, high cadence observations and immediately publicly available data will provide the astronomical community with unprecedented access to new avenues of research. I will provide a brief update on the mission status, describe the methods used to assemble the various catalogs and algorithms which populate the TIC, and illustrate the various aspects of astrophysics which can be investigated using TESS data.

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