The TIC is used to aid in two minute cadence target selection for the TESS mission and to calculate physical and observational properties of planet candidates. It is for use by both the TESS science team and the public, and it is periodically updated – the current version is TIC-5. TIC-5 uses the 2MASS catalog as a base and merges a large number of other photometric catalogs, including UCAC4, APASS, SDSS, WISE, etc. There are roughly 700 million stellar and extended sources in TIC-5, containing compiled magnitudes including B, V, u, g, r, i, z, J, H, K, W1-W4, G. This number will increase to over a billion sources with the addition of Gaia DR2 in a later TIC version. TIC-6 is expected to be released around October 2017.
The TIC can be directly accessed through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), using either queries or bulk download. The TESS page at MAST is here, and this page describes various ways of searching or downloading the TIC.
The TIC is the responsibility of the SAO Arm of the TESS Science Office under the leadership of Dave Latham. The TESS Target Selection Working Group (TSWG) is co-chaired by Keivan Stassun (Vanderbilt) & Joshua Pepper (Lehigh).
FilterGraph for TIC-5 CTL
A useful visualization tool for the TIC-5 CTL (link)
Tutorial on the CTL Filtergraph portal
You are interested in the TESS Candidate Target List (CTL) and want to use the filtergraph portal to view the properties of stars in the list. Here is a primer on that.
- Go to the portal. What you see initially is a plot in RA and Dec of all 2.5 million top stars in the CTL portal. You can tell how many points are being displayed be the gray number of the lower-left corner of the plot. The color of the plot is tied to the Tmag of the stars.
- As a first step, let’s see what happens when you want to select not all 2.5 million, but rather the top 170,000 stars for actual 2-min target selection. To do that, look over to the left of the page.
- First, look at the very bottom of the left panel (scroll down) and click the boxes that say “interactive”, and “Swap black and white”.
- Then scroll back up a bit until you see the green box that says “Filter the data”. If you click on that, it will bring up a filter option. In that box, click where it says “variable” and scroll down to select “Priority”.
- Then just below that, in the box that says “-infinity”, type 0.066. That means the plot will only show points where the priority value is above 0.066, which happens to yield about 185,000 stars.
- Now, since we know the ecliptic will not be observed in the first two years, we can eliminate those stars.
- In the box below the Priority filter, click and scroll down to find Ecliptic_Lat.
- In the limit boxes type -6 and 6, and then in the conditional box next to them switch from “is between” to “isn’t between”. At that point the plot should now be showing about 176,000 stars, since we have eliminate the roughly 10,000 stars near the ecliptic that would have been high priority if observable.
- Now let’s say we want to see the distribution of the TESS magnitudes of these stars.
- Below the section with the data filters, click on the drop-down box that currently says “scatter plot” and select histogram. You will then see a histogram of the parameter that was previously shown on the X-axis, which was right ascension.
- From that “X-axis” drop-down menu replace “right ascension” with “Tess_mag.”
- Note that the previous x-axis limits of 0 to 24 are still in force, and you can remove them by clicking on the “set bounds” button to the right of the x-axis parameter drop down. Or you could insert your own axis limits.
- From there, you can select other parameters to view the distributions for, like Teff, or V-mag.
Contact the TESS Helpdesk with any questions.