Back in the summer of 2019, a 17-year-old high school student named Wolf Cukier made a huge universal discovery.
The New Yorker joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to start his internship. His job was to examine variations in a star's brightness, captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
His name is Wolf Cukier and, on the third day of his internship, he discovered a new planet, which is lying in a system 1,300 light-years away from us. This planet is now known as TOI 1338b.
During an interview with CNN, Wolf explained; "I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary. that's 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 1338b. At first, I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet."
The planet is circumbinary, which means that it orbits two stars instead of one. TOI 1388b, is also TESS's first circumbinary planet discovered.
After the news of the new discovery, Goddard wrote; "One is about 10% more massive than our Sun, while the other is cooler, dimmer and only one-third the Sun's mass."
After calculating the size of TOI 1388b, NASA found that the planet is approximately 6.9 times larger than Earth, which means it is between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn.
A social media user released computer-generated images of TOI 1388b, that took the internet by storm.
look at this planet that nasa found...shes gorgeous... pic.twitter.com/Msn7wyVtGd— jessi // aot s4 spoilers (@paintwater_boba) January 16, 2021
Unfortunately, we do not have the technology to see a clear image or take a clear photo of the planet yet. One user wrote; "We don’t have telescopes yet capable to resolve all the planets in our solar system (we just recently found out what Pluto looks like after we sent a spacecraft close to it), let alone any exoplanets from other star systems. That won't change in the next 50 years, realistically."
Well, We will just have to rely on CG images for now. Either way, it's a terrific discovery for a budding young NASA intern.