What are Alerts?
Alerts are notifications to the astronomical community so that planet candidates may be followed up before the first TESS data release in January 2019.
What data is available to support alerts?
MAST hosts SPOC data products for all alerted objects here: (link)
How many Alerts will there be?
A few dozen alerts are in the first batch of alerts, including known transiting from previous surveys that were in Sector 1.
Are false positives expected?
In any transit survey false positives are expected; follow-up observations are important and necessary for identifying false positives.
Why aren’t Alerts available to the general public?
NASA has directed the TESS Science Team to spend some time “beta testing” the Alerts process and content. During this beta test period, Alerts will be restricted to members of the TESS follow-up team, as well as astronomers who have access to follow-up resources. During this period, follow-up scientists should understand that they proceed at their own risk, while any bugs in the Alerts process, and/or content, are worked out. All beta test Alert users should be aware of the currently undemonstrated quality of the alerts, and the possibility that the content of some alerts may not match the eventual archived TESS data. The TESS Alerts beta test period is expected to begin around the first week of September, and last for about two 27-day TESS sectors. Once feedback from the initial beta test period is incorporated, TESS Alerts will be available to anyone who signs up to receive them.