Wolf Cukier, 17, of Scarsdale, has just recorded his name in the world history after he discovered a new planet on his 3rd day as an intern at NASA.
The planet, which has been named TOI 1338 b, is about 1,300 light years away from the Earth.
In a statement, Cukier 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.
“About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first, I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet.”
TOI 1338 b orbits two stars and is 6.9 times the size of Earth, according to NASA – and, before you get your hopes up, it’s very unlikely that it can support life.
“The planet blocked the light from those two stars, leading to a small dip in the amount of light that reached the telescope. That’s what I noticed at first.
“It was like, oh… there’s something here that was cool. But it’s also not like there’s a single moment of discovery.”
The planet was caught by satellite TESS and the team used a software package called ‘eleanor’ to confirm that what they were seeing was legit.
The discovery was actually made last summer, but the news has only recently been published in a new study, which was co-authored by Cukier, CBS reports