The Extended mission

TESS completed its prime mission in July of 2020 and has now entered into its extended mission. The extended mission will last approximately two years and will continue to scan the sky for exoplanets and transient events. The TESS mission will be more community focused with its next two years of operation.

As with previous Cycles, Cycles 3 and 4 of extended mission will solicit Guest Investigator proposals. A Cycle 3 call for proposals occurred on March 14th 2019, with Cycle 4 occurring in the fall of 2020.

Observing strategy

TESS Cycle 3 will observe fields in the Southern Ecliptic Hemisphere and be collected during the first year of the extended mission, from July 2020 until June 2021. It will cover sectors 27-39 as shown below.

A depiction of the survey sectors for Cycle 3. Credit: Taken from the TESS MIT Page.

List of the sectors in Cycle 3. Details of the cameras, angles, and dates are provided. Credit: Taken from the TESS MIT Page.

New observations and opportunities

The following data products will be obtainable will be available in Cycles 3 and 4.

  • 2-minute cadence data for a select number of targets.
  • 20-second cadence data for a select number of targets.
  • 10-minute full frame images instead of 30-minute.

The 20-second cadence mode will be allotted to ~1000 targets per sector. There will be a ten times increase in the number of 2-minute cadenced targets in the GI program, ~15,000 target slots in each sector.

Key-Project proposal categories are now available. These are programs that will have a maximum duration of 27 months and as such cover Cycle 3 and 4.

Ground-based observing focused programs are also solicited provided that they support the analysis and/or interpretation of TESS data. Up to $500K will be used to support ground-based programs.

Within Cycle 3 TESS will observe each sector continuously for two spacecraft orbits, ~28 days.

For more information about proposing within the extended mission please see the proposal page.