Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
  1. Best Amazon Deals Today
    07:58 Deals

    15 hidden Amazon deals that are so exclusive, they’re only for Prime members

  2. Prime Day Deals
    09:43 Deals

    These early Prime Day deals have prices so low, it’s like Amazon made a mistake

  3. Best Kitchen Gadgets
    08:33 Deals

    Amazon shoppers are obsessed with this $23 gadget that should be in every kitchen

  4. Amazon Deals
    10:22 Deals

    Today’s best deals: Huge Prime members-only sale, $15 Echo Auto, $106 off Apple Watc…

  5. Amazon Gift Card
    07:58 Deals

    $25 in free Amazon credit beats any Prime Day deal – here’s how to get it




A 17-year-old NASA intern just discovered a brand new planet

January 10th, 2020 at 4:25 PM
exoplanet discovery

I don’t know about you, but when I was 17 years old, I wasn’t doing very much planet-hunting. Wolf Cukier of Scarsdale High School is different. Not only was he accepted as an intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center after his junior year, but he also managed to make a name for himself just three days into his NASA work by spotting a planet that nobody ever even knew existed.

What’s even more incredible is that this new world is unlike any that astronomers have ever seen. It’s orbiting not one, but two stars at the same time.

For Cukier’s internship, he was tasked with scouring data gathered by NASA’s TESS, or Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. This high-tech planet-hunter seeks out planets by detecting subtle dips in the brightness of the stars they are orbiting. Cukier was studying a dual-star system known as TOI 1338 when he noticed something odd.

“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,” Cukier explains in a post on NASA’s website. “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.”

The planet, which has since been designated TOI 1338 b, is roughly the size of Saturn, according to NASA. It completes an orbit of the central binary every 93 to 95 days. This irregular transit period is due to the fact that the planet is orbiting two stars that are orbiting each other.

The system is situated some 1,300 light-years from Earth, so we obviously won’t be visiting this very special planet any time soon. Still, it’s an incredible discovery and one heck of a way to kick off a career in science for Cukier.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.




Popular News