Wolf Cukier, a 17-year-old intern at NASA discovered the existence of a new planet on the third day of his internship. The teen’s discovery helped NASA to understand and collect further information about the new planet. The planet, now named TOI 1338b is said to be seven times larger than our planet earth and has two stars – one which is 10 percent more huge than the sun and the other one is only one-third of the sun’s mass and has less light.
During the time of his internship, Wolf had been assigned to study how two stars cross paths and create an eclipse. While looking at an image, Wolf noticed something unusual. Soon, he brought this to his senior’s (Nasa research scientist Veselin Kostov) notice under whom he was learning and working. Both, Wolf and Mr. Kostov spent hours studying and verifying the unusual planet orbiting two stars.
The duo later reached out to the rest of their team at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland. After several weeks of observing, researching and verifying, the team arrived at the conclusion that the observation made by the 17-year-old teen was indeed a planet.
The research carried out by Wolf and other established scientists of NASA was presented in the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu. Their research paper co-authored by Wolf and the scientists has been submitted to a scientific journal too, reported the representatives of NASA.
Wolf Cukier who hails from Scarsdale, New York, had recently finished his penultimate year of high school and taken up this internship at NASA. This was his second time interning with NASA. Previously he had interned under the tutelage of Nasa aerospace technology researcher Ravi Kopparapu on a Goldilocks Zone project in the year 2018.
When the media approached to interact with Wolf, he said that his internship turned out to be colourful. He got to learn about the entire process and efforts that go into the verification of a new planet. Now, Wolf hopes that this will prove to be a great starting point of his career. His next step towards pursuing his goals is building a career in the field of astrophysics or physics. For this purpose he also wishes to pursue higher education in reputed universities like Princeton University, Stanford University, or MIT.