A 17-year-old New Yorker discovered a new planet orbiting two stars in the third day of his internship at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Wolf Cukier joined NASA after finishing his junior year at Scarsdale High School with the job of examining variations in star captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and upload it to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen project. While looking through the telescope a solar system 1,300 light-years from Earth called TOI 1338. The planet is now named TOI 1338 b.
A Goddard intern working with @NASA_TESS last summer discovered a planet orbiting two stars, like the fictional Tatooine of Star Wars. At first he thought it was one star eclipsing the other, but the timing was wrong. https://t.co/h7llny6cpy pic.twitter.com/q4D1Hp9OZ9— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) January 7, 2020
According to the official website, Cuckier 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.”
The new discovered planet is TESS's first circumbinary planet, a world orbiting two stars. The discovery was featured in a panel discussion on January 6 at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu. According to NASA's official website, the system in which the planet is found light-years away in the constellation Pictor. The two stars orbit each other every 15 days.
Apparently, one is 10 per cent more massive than the Sun in Earth's solar system, while the other star is cooler, dimmer and only one-third of the Sun's mass. TOI 1338 b is also the 'only known' planet in the system and is 6.9 times larger than Earth or between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn. The planet also orbits in the same plane as the stars and therefore experiences regular 'stellar eclipses'.