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Mission Overview

TESS FFI-Based Light Curves from the GSFC Team (GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE)


Primary Investigator: Brian P. Powell

HLSP Authors: Brian P. Powell, Ethan Kruse

Released: 2022-06-09

Updated: 2024-02-12

Primary Reference(s): Powell et al. 2022

DOI: 10.17909/j2yt-t417

Citations: See ADS Statistics

Read Me

Histogram of TESS magnitude and Sector

Top: Histogram of the TESS magnitudes for stars in the GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE data set.

Bottom: Number of light curves in the data set for each TESS Sector.


The TESS Full Frame Images (FFIs) present a wealth of opportunity for discovery.  The team aims to make this opportunity accessible to the entire community by providing the FFI light curves of all stars brighter than 16 mag from the primary mission (Years 1 and 2; Sectors 1–26) for public release.  This includes a total of over 150 million light curves, making it the largest set of TESS light curves released to date.  The light curves were constructed using the eleanor python library (Feinstein et al., 2019) in an offline, parallel implementation on the Discover supercomputer at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).  The “eleanor-lite” format in which they are stored allows for a relatively low memory requirement per light curve, providing for bulk storage and fast transfer of the light curves.  This format will facilitate large-scale analysis of the light curves, such as algorithmic and machine learning approaches to finding signals of interest to the user.

Data Products

The light curves have the following file naming convention:



  • <sector> = The Sector, represented as a 4-digit, zero-padded string, preceded by an "s", e.g., "s0013" for Sector 13.
  • <tid> = The 16-digit, zero-padded TIC ID, e.g. "0000000301049676" for TIC 301049676.

Data file types:


Extracted light curve file


Please see the eleanor python package documentation and GitHub repository for details on the FITS extensions and header keywords included in the GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE light curves.

Data Access

GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE light curves are available via the MAST Portal web search and the astroquery python package.  Set "Provenance Name" to "GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE" in the Portal's Advanced Search if you wish to restrict results to GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE.  You can also use the "Sequence Number" to limit the search to a specific Sector.

  • A web-based interface for cross-mission searches of data at MAST or the Virtual Observatory. Download GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE light curves for a few...
  • Search for, and retrieve, GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE data products programmatically in python based on a list of coordinates or target names.

For bulk downloads of GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE light curves, we recommend utilizing the bulk download scripts for each Sector, provided in the table below.  The scripts use curl, which is likely already installed on many machines, and if not, is freely available as open source software.  The bulk download scripts for the TESS Mission light curves also make use of curl.  You can run each shell script directly in a terminal to retrieve the full set of files, or use a selected subset of the script; each line in the script downloads one GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE file.

* The GSFC-ELEANOR-LITE light curves for Sectors 11-26 are not yet available via the MAST Portal, API, or astroquery, but can be accessed for bulk download via the provided curl script in the table below.

TESS Sector Number of Light Curves Total Data Volume Bulk Download Script
1.2 TB Sector 1 Light Curves | Target List
2 2,074,839

1.0 TB

Sector 2 Light Curves | Target List

3 1,939,351 0.9 TB Sector 3 Light Curves | Target List
4 2,043,771 0.8 TB Sector 4 Light Curves | Target List
5 2,694,501 1.2 TB Sector 5 Light Curves | Target List
6 5,692,613 2.6 TB Sector 6 Light Curves | Target List
7 8,319,865 3.9 TB Sector 7 Light Curves | Target List
8 6,859,735 3.0 TB Sector 8 Light Curves | Target List
9 7,054,161 3.5 TB Sector 9 Light Curves | Target List
10 9,717,705 4.9 TB Sector 10 Light Curves | Target List 
11* 13,977,206 7.5 TB Sector 11 Light Curves | Target List *
12* 19,764,661 10.7 TB Sector 12 Light Curves | Target List *
13* 9,728,979 5.3 TB Sector 13 Light Curves | Target List *
14* 8,545,506 4.6 TB Sector 14 Light Curves | Target List *
15* 6,844,652 3.5 TB Sector 15 Light Curves | Target List *
16* 6,225,845 3.0 TB Sector 16 Light Curves | Target List *
17* 5,923,255 2.8 TB Sector 17 Light Curves | Target List *
18* 5,827,510 2.8 TB Sector 18 Light Curves | Target List *
19* 5,248,131 2.7 TB Sector 19 Light Curves | Target List *
20* 2,827,088 1.4 TB Sector 20 Light Curves | Target List *
21* 1,683,175 0.9 TB Sector 21 Light Curves | Target List *
22* 1,465,524 0.8 TB Sector 22 Light Curves | Target List *
23* 1,541,985 0.8 TB Sector 23 Light Curves | Target List *
24* 4,452,919 2.3 TB Sector 24 Light Curves | Target List *
25* 3,564,886 1.8 TB Sector 25 Light Curves | Target List *
26* 4,054,645 2.1 TB Sector 26 Light Curves | Target List *


Upon execution of the bulk download scripts, the light curves for that Sector will download into a directory tree that mirrors the file storage on-disk at MAST.  The top level directory will be the Sector (e.g., "s0001/").  Then, light curve files for a given TIC ID are stored at the base of four further sub-directories formed by splitting the zero-padded, 16-digit TIC ID into four equal pieces (matching the way TESS mission data are stored on-disk at MAST).  For example, directory s0001/0000/0000/0819/5168/ contains the light curve for the object TIC 8195168 observed in Sector 1.


Please remember to cite the appropriate paper(s) below and the DOI if you use these data in a published work. 

Note: These HLSP data products are licensed for use under CC BY 4.0.