Finding an exoplanet is a great discovery, but to find four? They may be the youngest astronomers to do so.
After discovering four new planets in orbit around a star about 200 light-years away from Earth, a pair of high school students are being commended for making a major astronomical discovery.
In a peer-reviewed paper published last week by the Astronomical Journal, the two scholars, 16-year-old Kartik Pinglé and 18-year-old Jasmine Wright, both of whom attend schools in Massachusetts, were pleased to take part in the discovery and wrote about it the exoplanets.
“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,” Cukier explained in an interview, according to a Nasa press release.
Three of the planets are known to be “sub-Neptunes,” gaseous planets smaller than, but identical to, the Neptune of our own solar system. Each of them requires between 6 and 19.5 days to orbit around TOI-1233. Owing to its massive size and rockiness, the fourth planet is called a “super-Earth”; it orbits the star in just under four days. Sourced from Harvard.