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Mission Looking for Earth-like Planets Focus of Santa Monica College Planetarium Show
By Lookout Staff
January 26, 2018 -- If there are any planets that could sustain life forms, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) scheduled to be launched in March will be looking for them.
The mission is the focus of “The TESS Mission: Exoplanet Targets for Webb” on February 2 and 16 at the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium.
"TESS will search the near-solar neighborhood of over 200,000 stars for planets crossing between TESS and the parent star, making it possible to target those newly discovered planets for more information from the James Webb Space Telescope," planetarium officials said.
During its first two years, the mission will focus on several hundred thousand chosen stars, looking for small "dips" in their light caused by orbiting planets, NASA said.
In addition to everything from small, rocky planets to gas giants, TESS is expected to find more than 5,000 possible "exoplanets" orbiting stars beyond our solar system, including 50 the size of earth.
TESS is the "first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey," Planetarium officials said. "No ground-based survey can achieve this feat."
On February 23, the planetarium will train its lens on the moon for a special observing event titled “8-Day-Old Moon: Lunar Apennines, Alps, and the Straight Wall!”
The event offers an opportunity "to look at an 8-day-old waxing gibbous Moon and its Apennines and Alps and 'Straight Wall' -- along with the beautiful Pleiades star cluster -- through a variety of telescopes, with guidance from the planetarium’s director," organizers said.
The evening events are held on Friday evenings at 8 p.m. and are preceded by
The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system,
Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for
For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit www.smc.edu/planetarium.
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