Community products

TESS Follow-Up Observing Program

The TESS Follow-Up Observing Program (TFOP) is a large working group of astronomical observers brought together to primarily provide follow-up observations to support the TESS Mission's primary goal of measuring the masses for 50 planets smaller than 4 Earth radii. Stars hosting high priority planet candidates will be observed to establish reliable stellar parameters, confirm the existence of planets, refine their radii, and measure planet masses.

The TFOP is led by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), in coordination with MIT, as part of the TESS Science Office. A goal of TFOP is to foster communication and coordination among the TESS Science Team members and the community in order to maximize scientific output and minimize duplication of effort.

The TFOP is organized into five sub-groups: Seeing-Limited Photometry, Recon Spectroscopy, High-Resolution Imaging, Precise Radial Velocities, and Space-Based Photometry. TFOP observations are performed with committed time on the Las Cumbres Observatory Network (for photometry and spectroscopy), the MEarth (photometry) and TRES (spectroscopy) facilities, and numerous other facilities through the usual telescope time allocation processes. There are currently tens of working groups (each representing a team and facility from around the world) involved in TFOP and additional participation and follow-up programs are welcome. For more information and to apply to join TFOP, check out the MIT website here.

Observations acquired via the TFOP are uploaded to the ExoFOP Repository, described in further detail below.

ExoFOP Repository

ExoFOP is a web-based service developed and operated by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) originally for the Kepler and K2 Follow-Up Observation Programs. ExoFOP plays a key role in coordinating TESS Follow-Up Observing Program (TFOP) activities and hosting observations and tools. ExoFOP is a 'sand-box' for the community to share data and information regarding follow-up observations to help facilitate the efficient and effective use of community telescope resources. ExoFOP is connected to and integrated with the NASA Exoplanet Archive.

ExoFOP hosts a dedicated page for TESS, ExoFOP-TESS, with a format similar to the Kepler/K2 pages. ExoFOP-TESS contains overview pages for each of the 10.8 million stars in the TESS Candidate Target list (CTL). These pages contain data from the TESS Input Catalog (TIC) Version 5, including coordinates, magnitudes, stellar parameters, and planet parameters (when available).

ExoFOP-TESS includes:

  • Summaries of TESS-observed targets
  • Overviews of individual targets
  • Summaries of observations
  • Observing notes
  • Links to outside services (NASA Exoplanet Archive tools, MAST data and documentation, Simbad and other host star resources, community-produced light curves and products, and more)
  • Telescope resource calendar

All files (data/image/notes) can be uploaded in any format, in single or bulk-uploads. Attached notes can be html to enable linking within ExoFOP or outside. ExoFOP-TESS products will be searchable and available to sort and download. A tool to follow specific targets, or sets of targets, can be enabled via a "My Targets" feature with an option for email updates.


Examples of supporting follow-up observation results that can be uploaded to ExoFOP. Image Credit: D. Ciardi/NexScI

High Level Science Products

High level science products (HLSP), which are those created by the community (e.g., full-frame image light curves), can be archived at the MAST. If you are interested in creating a HLSP and having it hosted on MAST, we encourage you to contact MAST.