A 17-Year-Old Discovered a Planet on the Third Day of His NASA Internship


Kids today…are pretty great, as it turns out!

At least, some of them are.

On only the third day into his internship at NASA, a 17-year-old named Wolf Cukier (awesome name) discovered a new planet that is being called “TOI 1338 b”. The planet is 6.9 times larger than Earth, and the folks at NASA believe the planet will be in a stable orbit for at least the next 10 million years. It is located roughly 1,300 light-years away from Earth.

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The teenager discovered the planet while looking at “variations in star brightness” in images captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

Cukier is from Scarsdale, New York, and he completed a two-month internship last summer with NASA at their Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Cukier said, “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. 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.”

NASA just recently confirmed Cukier’s findings, and they submitted a paper co-written by the teenager about the discovery of the new planet.

Let’s get to meet this whiz kid, shall we?


Cukier also confirmed that he is indeed now looking for other new planets. Keep up the great work!

As the saying goes, the kids are alright.