NASA Intern Finds A Solitary World — Around A Binary Star System, Over A Thousand Light Years Away…

As our friendly anonymous commenter mentioned on Friday — the tender age of a STEM contributor will not necessarily limit the size of their contributions, at NASA, at least.

In just his third day on the job, this 17 year old found a likely-unique world, thus:

. . . .The planet TOI 1338 b was found 1,300 light-years away in the Pictor constellation. It’s the only planet in the system with two stars. It’s between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn and experiences regular eclipses from its stars.

The stars whirl around each other in orbit every 15 days, with one 10% more massive than our sun and the other is more diminutive and cooler.

Scarsdale High School student Wolf Cukier was interning for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center over the summer when he spotted something in TESS’ star data.

“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”. . . .

Indeed. . . this is the first world spotted around a binary system, by equipment on the Tess mission. So… very cool!

नमस्ते

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