NASA intern and high school student Wolf Cukier discovered a planet on the third day of his internship. Wolf Cukier, a student at Scarsdale High School, started an internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. His job is to examine variations in star brightness captured by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and upload the variations to the observations to the TESS citizen science project.
“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 said. “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.”
NASA named the planet as TOI 1338 and it is 1,300 light-years away from the earth. The new planet is 6.9 times the size of the earth. It is the first circumbinary planet that orbits around two stars. The two stars orbit each other every 15 days.