High school student discovers new planet while interning at NASA

Pablo Tucker
January 11, 2020

The planet, TOI 1338 b, is the first circumbinary planet, or world orbiting two stars, that has been spotted using TESS data.

High-School student Wolf Cukier found the planet.

The new planet is about 6.9 times the size of Earth and is in the Pictor constellation, according to Fox News. The turn around the two stars of the TOI 1338 b takes 95 days. This irregular transit period is due to the fact that the planet is orbiting two stars that are orbiting each other. The other, which only has about one-third of the Sun's mass, is described as being cooler and dimmer. It's also colder and shines less.

17-year-old Wolf Cukier interned at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD last July after finishing his junior year at Scarsdale High School in NY.


In a statement that was released by the 17-year-old, he said, "I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit". It has two stars which it orbits around.

NASA, on the other hand, announced that the TESS telescope has discovered a new planet that is Earth-sized and livable from its star.

TESS discovered three planets in orbit, named TOI 700 b, c and d.

Proxima Centauri, which is the closest star to planet Earth, is approximately four light years away.


In the first place, TESS misclassified the planet.

But a high school that browsed the data collected by TESS contributed to his latest discovery. It is a circumbinary planet, which are hard to spot; this is just the 13th planet of its kind to ever be found, CBS New York reports.

Star TOI 700 is small, about 40 percent of our sun's size and only about half as hot.

As planets pass in front of stars, - known as a transit - it can help astronomers determine the location of planets. The temperature in this region is thought to allow liquid water. A girl in the fairy tale found by examining which of the three porridge was the correct mush "neither too hot nor too cold". And while these are the things necessary for human life on Earth, they might not be as necessary for other forms of life; for instance, astrobiologists, scientists who study the possibility of life outside of Earth, are interested in the oceanic environments of Jupiter's moon Europa, and Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, even though these worlds lack a nearby sun and wouldn't be livable by human standards, reported Neel Patel for MIT Technology Review at the time.


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