17-Year-Old Discovers Planet With 2 Suns While Interning With NASA

Explained What is Goldilocks zone

Wolf Cukier from Scarsdale has discovered a new planet that revolves around two stars while he was doing his internship at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland. "New planets discovered by TESS get a TOI number if they don't have another significant name already", the 17-year-old told the Post.

NASA announced earlier this week that for the first time, it had discovered a new planet with a circumbinary orbit - in other words, a planet that circles two suns. "It turned out to be a planet".

Cukier is a high school senior and has said that he is continuing to look for more planets, according to an interview he gave with ABC News.

"TOI 1338 b's transits are irregular, between every 93 and 95 days, and vary in depth and duration thanks to the orbital motion of its stars".

To learn about these and other stars, TESS's four cameras each take an image of the sky for 30 minutes every 27 days. The other, which only has about one-third of the Sun's mass, is described as being cooler and dimmer.

According to NASA, TOI 1338 b is roughly 6.9 times larger than Earth, or "between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn". Scientists are more likely to find bigger planets, because smaller bodies have a lesser effect on the brightness of a star during their transit.


Circumbinaries are hard to detect, and scientists have now confirmed about two dozen, with the first discovered in 1993. On Monday, their findings were presented at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu. Cukier was studying a dual-star system known as TOI 1338 when he noticed something odd.

Cukier had just finished his junior year when he started his internship at NASA's Goddard's Space Flight Center in Goddard, Md., last summer.

Cukier said he plans on continuing research into astronomy and eclipsing binaries in the future and stays in touch with his mentors at NASA frequently.

The planet-hunting satellite recently made a fascinating discovery when it revealed that an ancient star experiences eclipses, which may have helped guide the ancient Egyptians during the construction of the pyramids. "We don't have a large sample size of binary system planets".

TESS discovered three planets in orbit, named TOI 700 b, c and d. Only "d" is in the so-called "Goldilocks zone", not too far from and not too close to the star, where the temperature could allow the presence of liquid water.

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