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Mere a 17-Year-Old could able to discover a planet that is 6.9 times bigger than Earth during the 3rd day of his internship with NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

|| Anjan Kumar Samal

Wolf Cukier, an inmate of ‘Scarsdale High School’, New York at the time of his junior year succeeded a two-month internship with NASA. After which he was allowed to travel down to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight center at ‘Maryland’ in ‘Greenbelt’.


He was given his very 1st assignment by NASA to examine the brightness of the stars captured earlier by NASA’s Training Exoplanet Survey Satellite(TESS)which is a part and parcel of Planet Hunters TEES citizen science Project.

Interestingly, a mere 3 days into this internship, unprecedentedly Wolf discovered a new planet which is even bigger than the Earth. This planet is 6.9 times bigger than the Earth.


NASA unearthed this news on their official website this week after observing and confirming the teenager’s work by submitting a related document that Cukier co-authored for scientific review and announcing the discovery of this new planet which is named as “TOI 1338 b.” at the 235th meeting of American Astronomical Society.

The 17-year-old Cukier informs NASA “I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle 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,” further unearthed by Mr. Wolf.


“I noticed a dip, or a transit, from the TOI 1338 system, and that was the first signal of a planet,” Cukier explains to NBC 4, New York.

Mr. Cukier explained, “I first saw the initial dip and thought, ‘Oh that looked cool,’ but then when I looked at the full data from the telescope at that star, I and my mentor also noticed, three different dips in the system.”


As per NASA. TOI 1338 b is 6.9 times larger than the Earth(In between the size of Neptune & Saturn) which is located in the Constellation Pictor about 1,300 Light-Year away from the Earth Surface.

TOI 1338 b is the very first planet captured by the TESS system(Training Exoplanet Survey Satellite)  which  is considered a circumbinary planet as per the theory of space science, meaning it orbits two stars. The two stars orbit each other in every 15 days, and one is 10% larger than the Sun.


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