17-Year-Old Student Helped Discover A New Planet On The Third Day Of Internship At NASA

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Planet TOI 1338b is seven times the size of Earth, orbits two stars … oh yes, and was discovered by a tenth grader.


Image credits: NASA Goddard


On January 7, NASA announced the discovery of a new planet TOI 1338b, which is 1300 light-years from Earth and orbits two stars at once. But not only this turned out to be unusual, but also the fact that a tenth grader from the United States named Wolf Cukier helped open the planet.



In the summer of 2019, the 17-year-old received a two-month invitation to a NASA internship. In June, he traveled from New York to the Goddard Space Flight Center: his first assignment was to observe the change in the brightness of stars as part of the TESS telescope mission to search for exoplanets.


NASA has the TESS Planet Huners project, which allows volunteers to help scientists discover new planets. During the early days of his internship, Cooker studied data from volunteers about a two-star system and noticed a strange shadow in their orbit. At first, the teenager thought it was a stellar eclipse, but this was at odds with the forecasts. It turned out that this is not just a shadow, but a planet. By that time, Wolf was training at NASA for the third day.


NASA officials have verified and confirmed Cooker’s guess. “These are exactly the types of signals that algorithms have problems with. The human eye is extremely good at finding something like that, ”said the scientist Veselin Kostov.

Cooker himself, in a conversation with reporters, compared his find with Star Wars: “I helped discover a planet that revolves around two stars. One of them is 10% larger than the sun. Look, you can draw an analogy to the homeworld of Luke [Skywalker] Tatooine – that is, during each sunset, two stars will appear. “


The teenager said that he had not yet decided what he would do after school, but his plans were to study physics and astrophysics. He plans to attend Stanford, Princeton, or the University of Massachusetts.


This specific planet seems to orbit 2 stars making it circumbinary.


Image credits: NASA Goddard

Image credits: NASA Goddard

Here are some of the recently released generated pictures of the TOI 1388b. Most of the people fell in love with these fantastic images.


Image credits: paintwater_boba

Image credits: paintwater_boba

Image credits: paintwater_boba

Image credits: paintwater_boba


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