TESS observations consist the collection of pixel subarray (“postage stamp”) data every two-minutes and summed full-frame images (FFIs) collected every thirty minutes. Over the course of a sector, ~600 FFIs are collected, and ~10,000 postage stamps are collected around >15,000 targets.
Targets are primarily selected for their viability as exoplanet hosts. Some targets are reserved for TESS Guest Investigators, asteroseismology, and Director’s Discretionary Observations.
Once received on the ground, the postage stamp and FFI data are sent to the Science Processing Operations Center (SPOC) at NASA/Ames for processing and exoplanet searches. The data are also examined by the Quick-Look Pipeline (QLP) at the TESS Science Office at MIT. The goals of both of these pipelines is the quick identification of robust planet candidates.
The most promising planet candidates will be followed up by ground telescopes. These candidates, now called TESS Objects of Interest (TOIs), will be announced as Alerts on the MIT TESS web page.
All TESS data, both raw and processed, are archived at the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), from where they can be downloaded by anyone.
As promising targets for follow-up observations are discovered, they will be announced as Alerts on the TESS Alerts page.
Guest Investigator Program
The TESS Project supports a Guest Investigator program, which allows researchers to propose both observations of particular targets and the analyses of archived data. The GI program is described at the NASA HEASARC website.
Director’s Discretionary Targets
A number of targets per sector have been reserved for targets which are not covered in the exoplanet, asteroseismology, or GI target lists, yet may warrant inclusion as targets. Proposals for DDT targets can be submitted through the DDT Proposal Page.
TESS Follow-up Observations
Follow-up observations are discussed on the TFOP page.
Access to archived TESS data can be found at MAST.