This Beautiful Planet Was Discovered By A 17-Year-Old Just 3 Days Into Their NASA Internship

Published 3 years ago

If you’ve ever worked as an intern, you probably ended up doing all of the jobs everyone else loathed, like hauling around boxes full of documents or making sure that the coffee machine is never empty. But not 17-year-old Wolf Cukier from New York. Back in 2019, just three days into his internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, the teenager ended up discovering a brand new planet located 1,300 light-years away from us. The planet was named TOI 1338b, and has a unique pastel-colored appearance that makes it look like a giant bath bomb floating in space.

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17-year-old Wolf Cukier ended up discovering a brand new planet just three days into his NASA internship

Image credits: NASA Goddard

In an interview with CNN, Wolf said he was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary. “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,” explained the intern.

The planet orbits two stars instead of one, making it circumbinary

Image credits: NASA Goddard

“One is about 10% more massive than our Sun, while the other is cooler, dimmer and only one-third the Sun’s mass,” explains NASA Goddard. The newly-discovered planet is nearly 7 times larger than Earth. A few generated pictures of TOI 1388b have recently been released, and they’re absolutely mesmerizing.

A few generated pictures of TOI 1388b have recently been released, and people instantly fell in love with this planet

Image credits: paintwater_boba

The pictures of the planet have taken Twitter by storm, gathering over 1.2 million likes in just a few days.

The pictures of the planet got over 1.2M likes and 224k retweets in just a few days

Image credits: paintwater_boba

The pictures of TOI 1388b were created using a bot, as there aren’t telescopes available that could clearly capture photos of planets so far away. “That won’t change in the next 50 years, realistically,” wrote one Twitter user.

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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17-year-old, 17-year-old discovers new planet, NASA, new planet, space, Wolf Cukier
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