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17-year-old discovers a planet that is 6.9 times larger than earth

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A 17-year-old discovers a planet that is 6.9 times larger than Earth on the third day of his internship with NASA. Wolf Cukier got a two-month internship with NASA during his junior year at Scarsdale High School in New York.

When he started his internship, his first assignment was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA’s.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, known as TESS. TESS is used for planet hunt by people who don't work for NASA to help with the finding of new planets.

Them boom, just three days into his internship with NASA Cukier discovered a new planet with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

TESS has discovered the mission’s first circumbinary planet, a world orbiting two stars. The planet, called TOI 1338b, is around 6.9 times larger than Earth, or between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn. It lies in a system 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Pictor.

After the discovering, NASA confirms the teenager’s work, submitting a paper that Cukier Co-authored for scientific review and announcing the discovery of the planet. NASA announced the news on their website.

“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,” 17-year-old Cukier tells NASA.

“About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338b. At first, I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet.”

“I noticed a dip, or a transit, from the TOI 1338b system, and that was the first signal of a planet,”

“I first saw the initial dip and thought, ‘Oh that looked cool,’ but then when I looked at the full data from the telescope at that star, I and my mentor also noticed, three different dips in the system.”

“TOI 1338b” and its two stars make up what is called an “eclipsing binary.”

“TOI 1338b” is considered a circumbinary planet, meaning it orbits two stars. The two stars orbit each other every 15 days, and one is 10% larger than the Sun.

According to NASA, the TOI 1338b is 6.9 times larger than Earth and is located in the constellation Pictor, about 1,300 light-years away from Earth. For context, the Earth’s sun is between seven and nine light-minutes away.

TOI 1338b is the first planet captured by the TESS system.