Last week, NASA activated its planet-telescope telescope TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) but before that, the telescope was tested by taking some pictures.
The photo sequence was taken on July 25 when TESS was still in testing phase and what we see is when the comet C / 2018 N1 that passes in front of the powerful telescope. The test should have confirmed that TESS can follow celestial bodies for an extended period while photographing high-quality images.
The comet C / 2018 N1 was discovered by NASA earlier this year, and it is currently about 48 million kilometers from Earth.
The comet’s tail, which consists of gases carried away from the comet by an outflow from the Sun called the solar wind, extends to the top of the frame and gradually pivots as the comet glides across the field of view.
All in all, the crisp pictures is a good sign that TESS is fully functional and ready to do conduct some meaningful scientific work. But its most exciting discoveries are still to come.