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The tripartite venture to locate planets outside the solar system

In a first-of-its-kind project in space - Tel Aviv University will mediate between The two European Gaia spacecraft and NASA's Tess allow easier and faster discovery of planets

Visualization of a planet similar to Earth orbiting a different sun. Image:
Visualization of a planet similar to Earth orbiting a different sun. Image:

A first-of-its-kind venture in space: a Tel Aviv University program will mediate between two spacecraft, one of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the other of the American Space Agency (NASA), in order to cross-reference the data coming from the two flagship spacecraft of these space agencies. The collaboration was led by three researchers from the Faculty of Exact Sciences at Tel Aviv University - Prof. (Emeritus) Zvi Maza, Prof. Shai Zucker, and research student Aviad Panchai, and it enables a more accurate and faster detection of planets outside the solar system.

Prof. Zvi Maza: "This is a tremendous international effort, of which we are the connecting link. I am excited to see this collaboration take shape and produce results. It makes me happy to see that we were able to reach the equal valley for the advancement of humanity in the field of space exploration."

TESS, NASA's research spacecraft, believed to discover planets outside the solar system, cannot observe the planets themselves. Instead, the spacecraft discovers planets orbiting distant suns according to the amount of light emitted from the suns over time - the planets partially hide those suns when they pass by them and thus cause a small cyclical decrease in the intensity of the light reaching us. In some cases, the decrease in light intensity measured by the spacecraft is caused by changes in the light intensity of neighboring stars and not as a result of the presence of a planet, because of the quality of the photography of the telescope on the spacecraft. To verify the presence of the planet, additional follow-up observations from Earth are needed, which requires a lot of time and resources. While TESS hunts for planets around other stars, Gaia, the European Space Agency's research spacecraft, maps the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. It does this by measuring the distance and light intensity of over a billion stars in unprecedented detail, but its imaging rate is much slower than that of TESS.

The research group of Tel Aviv University, led by Prof. Zvi Maza, created a collaboration between the two leading space agencies in the world. The group built a system for cross-referencing data from the Gaia spacecraft, which has an extraordinary resolution in its images and is able to distinguish between the stars (suns) and the data on the potential planets from the TESS spacecraft. Cross-referencing the data allows for quick screening of the cases where it is neighboring suns and not planets. The collaboration that began to operate these days has already yielded the identification of stars whose light dimming was caused by neighboring stars and not by planets, as well as stars that indeed have planets around them.

Aviad Panchai: "This is a very exciting project. We created a system that cross-references data from the two leading spacecraft in their field, Gaia and TESS, each of which fills in the gaps for the other spacecraft into a complete and accurate snapshot. All the data is drained to us and processed by us, and we have already achieved quite a few results that all parties are satisfied with. At first I didn't believe that we would be able to get the two space agencies to cooperate, but Prof. Maza's enthusiasm is contagious, which led to the fact that we built our system even before the cooperation was officially implemented, and in the end they too were carried away by the enthusiasm."

Prof. Shay Zucker: "The capabilities and goals of Gaia and TESS are different but complementary. The idea of ​​combining the powers of these two spacecraft came to us two years ago and after many efforts this collaboration is now seeing the light of day. Our ultimate goal is to advance science for all of humanity. This is a very exciting and joyful event and we are proud to be the connecting link that makes it possible."

More of the topic in Hayadan:

4 תגובות

  1. Eli Isaac
    For our world - it is not important.
    For you - it's important because that's how you decided.
    Matter does try to match the level of energy - but there is more energy than matter in our world.
    You experience the "struggle" between matter and energy in this world and this is life...

  2. A bit of philosophy that I didn't learn (the study of truth and reality).
    Every time it amazes me that this world produces infinite new things for us to discover, infinite distance and objects in the macro, infinite in the micro.
    It seems that the deeper we explore the more discoveries we make without end. Is there a purpose here that it is like this? Is there supervision? If so, then for what? (I'm not religious)
    Why were we created with a desire to continue living at almost any cost? Why is it important for us to have children to continue us? (They will also die at some point)
    It is also important for people to be remembered and perhaps to have pictures, tombstones, even statues left. for what? Time erases everything (I've seen gravestones whose inscriptions have been completely erased over the years) and let's say a statue or a picture of someone important remains, it's really not him anymore.
    Why is it important for our world that things happen, move, rotate. Why is it important for the world to invest energy in it? I would expect the world to actually try to reach a state of rest. For example, even the sun will disappear in a few million years.

    Eli Isaac
    Private tutor for computer science, programming and mathematics

  3. I'm not a communist but pig capitalism is bringing us to a world where only a handful of tycoons who will own the robots will earn a huge fortune, and the rest of the population will be thrown to the dogs. Read materials about the fourth industrial revolution and the huge job losses it has already started to bring.
    Trying to say that the free market will solve everything in such a situation is basically throwing away responsibility.

  4. Avi,
    There are places on the net where you can have a high level intellectual discussion. Maybe I'm wasting my time here.. I remain dumbfounded by your repeated responses, which lack logical and quantitative arguments and in their place you cling to empty slogans. Tikonos....capitalism.. How are these responses different from the response such as "Only our God in heaven is responsible for creation, etc.." This is not serious.
    Reminder. The Soviet Union is absent and the Tikons dry up the Aral Sea. In the 50s, the super socialists in Israel dried up the Hula Valley.
    Communist China builds dozens of coal plants a year. (but a permanent member of the climate conferences).
    In any case, I will not let common sense, accumulated information or facts confuse you.
    And let's laugh at the joke I just made up.
    How do you get to the science site in Russian?
    Best regards,

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