NASA credits 17-year-old for discovering planet with two suns

NASA credits 17-year-old for discovering planet with two suns

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its planet-hunting mission called Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in 2018. Since its inception, it has discovered multiple planets. The latest update to the list is the discovery of a planet with two suns found by a high-school student interning at NASA.

This is the first time that a circumbinary planet has been found with two stars under the TESS mission, said NASA. The discovery is being credited to Wolf Cukier, a 17-year-old student from New York who was interning at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“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,” said Cukier.

The planet named TOI 1338b is situated 1,300 light-years from the Earth in the Pictor constellation. “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 intern added.