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TESS Shares First Science Images!

by Dr. Lisa Will, Resident Astronomer at the Fleet Science Center

This week, the NASA spacecraft TESS released its first science images.  Launched in April 2018, TESS stands for “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.” The goal of its planned two-year mission is to discover small, Earth-like planets using the “transit” method of planet detection, looking for small dips in the light of a star due to a planet passing in between it and our perspective from Earth.

So, what did this first set of images show us? The view is of a part of the sky most easily visible from the southern hemisphere of the Earth, including parts of twelve different constellations. The two large fuzzy blogs are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two small companion galaxies to our own Milky Way.  Some of the stars in this image are already known to have planets in orbit around them.

By the time TESS has finished its mission, it will have studied the light from approximately 200,000 stars and is expected to double the number of known exoplanets with what it is capable of finding. These new images are the first steps along TESS’ scientific journey!

 

Wishing you clear skies!

 

Fleetster Friday: Meet Mary Anderson

It’s #FleetsterFriday! This week, we’d like you to meet the Fleetster who has been working here the longest. Mary Anderson, one of the Fleet’s Console Operators, has been with the Fleet since it opened in 1973! Mary has been the primary Console Operator for all of The Sky Tonight planetarium shows—unless, of course, she’s off chasing eclipses and taking amazing astronomy photos! The Sky Tonight planetarium show on Wednesday, September 5, will be Mary’s last before she retires, so don’t miss it!

Science Around the World

After over ten years of working at the Fleet Science Center, Director of Human Resources Candi Freed was able to retire. As a going-away gift and in recognition of many years of faithful service, Candi was gifted a Fleet membership upon her retirement, a benefit that has allowed her to visit not only the Fleet, but many other science centers around the world.

Fleetster Friday: Meet Kit Medina

It’s #FleetsterFriday! This week, we’re featuring San Diego native, Kit Medina. Kit is a bit of a Renaissance man here at the Fleet. You may recognize him from his memorable MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition live shows.

Fleetster Friday: Meet Mike Lawrence

It’s #FleetsterFriday! This week, we’d like to introduce you to Imperial Beach resident Mike Lawrence. As Theater Operations Manager and Chief IMAX Projectionist, Mike can often be found deep in the basement of the Fleet, preparing giant IMAX film reels for viewing. Did you know that the average IMAX film reel weighs 240 pounds?! Be sure to check out Great Barrier Reef, the Fleet’s newest film, opening July 6! 
 
  • Describe your job in four words. 

Fleetster Friday: Meet Tanja Schroeder

It’s #FleetsterFriday! This week, get to know Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs and Training, Tanja Schroeder. Tanja heads up our awesome army of volunteers and is one of the first faces new employees see during New Employee Orientation. If you love science and you need volunteer hours, Tanja is your girl! Visit fleetscience.org/volunteer to apply today!

  • Describe your job in four words

Connecting people to science!

Summer (Camp) Lovin'

Did you know that Fleet's Summer Science Camps are a great way to keep your children and grandchildren involved in science education all year long?  Just ask Mike Pineda, a Fleet member, who has been registering his eight year old twin boys in education programs for the past two years.

 

April’s shooting stars!

A shot of the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower as it peaked in the skies over Earth.

The Lyrid meteor shower will dazzle the skies this weekend. This meteor shower—one of the oldest meteor showers known to man—occurs every April when the Earth crosses the orbital path of the Comet Thatcher. Tiny bits of ice and dust from this comet hit the Earth’s atmosphere, causing a streak of light across the sky—a meteor!

The Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 per hour. Those rare outbursts are not easy to predict, but they’re one of the reasons the tantalizing Lyrids are worth checking out.

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