NASA’s special satellite dedicated for space observations —Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) — was launched in April, 2018. TESS has always been exploring the space and has discovered numerous exoplanets and mysterious space bodies such as exoplanet having three suns and a so-called ‘missing link’.
According the new study by space researchers, TESS might have discovered the Planet 9 already. The researchers published the research in RNAAS (Research Notes of AAS) which reads that this satellite worth $200 million has ability to capture multiple images of space objects located at same point. TESS is known for its discoveries of Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs).
As per the notations in the research, TESS can detect space objects at minimum displacement of 5 pixels. As the hypothetical Planet 9 is assumed to have a ‘19<v<24’ magnitude, the possibility of it being discovered by TESS cannot be denied at all.
TESS has cameras that are able to operate with 2 s exposure in shutter-less mode. With these cameras, the researchers recorded pre-selected regions and full-frame images (FFI) at 2 and 30 minutes momentum respectively.
As per Matt Holman —lead author of the study and astrophysicist, Harvard University — TESS observes specific space regions at a time for several months. It has discovered many exoplanets till the date by observing the host star paths. Being a stable platform located in space, TESS captures numerous images (FFIs) without any interference from Earth’s atmosphere so that they can be later observed for mysterious space object detection. This ability raises the possibility of mysterious Planet 9 detection by TESS. By combining these FFIs together, TESS can actually find some fainted objects. Researchers have proved that with the help of ‘digital tracking’, detecting faint space bodies in solar system is easy.
The planet nine was firstly mentioned by Scott Sheppard —American astronomer— in 2014. In 2016, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown —Caltech astrophysicists— coined the term, ‘missing link of solar system’ for Planet 9 in their combined study.