May 18, 2018

NASA's newest planet hunter snaps photo of 200,000 stars

200,000 stars. Photo: NASA/MIT/TESS

NASA’s newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has just taken a two-second test exposure snapshot of the southern constellation Centaurus. The photo, taken with one of four TESS cameras, reveals more than 200,000 stars.

Why it matters: TESS, which was launched on April 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, is well on its way to hunting for other planets outside our solar system that could harbor life.

Catch up quick, via Mashable:

  • TESS is set to roam for 2 years searching for other planets that are located around bright, nearby stars.
  • TESS is intended to build on the legacy of another planet-hunting mission, the Kepler Space Telescope, which spotted about 2,600 exoplanets.

Go deeper

Wall Street notches worst week for stocks since 2008

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Stocks closed down about 1% on Friday, ending the worst week for Wall Street since the financial crisis.

Why it matters: The stretch of declines came after a spike in coronavirus cases around the world earlier this week. The steep losses prompted questions about the fate of the record-long economic expansion, as well as a rare statement from the Federal Reserve.

Go deeper: The growing coronavirus recession threat

Federal Reserve: Coronavirus poses "evolving risk" to the economy

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell took the rare move Friday of issuing a statement meant to reassure investors, one that opened the door to a possible interest rate cut.

Why it matters: The Fed rarely issues statements like this outside of policy meetings and scheduled public appearances. It came as the stock market continues its steep decline this week. Stocks briefly pared some losses after the 2:30 p.m. EST statement came out.