Tags: 15-tear-old | discovers | new | planet | intern

15-Year-Old Discovers New Planet While Working as Intern

By    |   Friday, 12 Jun 2015 07:27 AM

A 15-year-old boy discovered a new planet about 1,000 light years away from the Milky Way galaxy while serving as an intern at an English college.

Tom Wagg, who is now 17, pinpointed the planet while reviewing data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) project, Keele University in Staffordshire said in a release. WASP monitors stars in space looking for clues of planets orbiting stars.

 


The university said Wagg may be the youngest person ever to discover a planet, which is catalogued currently as WASP-142b. The project has identified 142 possible planets while astronomers collectively have located more than 1,000 "extra-solar" planets in space.

"I'm hugely excited to have a found a new planet, and I'm very impressed that we can find them so far away," said Wagg, a student at Newcastle-under-Lyme School. The teenager said he wanted to do the internship at Keele because of his interest in space and science.

"The WASP software was impressive, enabling me to search through hundreds of different stars, looking for ones that have a planet," he said.

CNN reported that astronomers at the University of Geneva and the University of Liege recently confirmed the discovery, saying the celestial body had the required size and mass to be called a planet. Keele is planning a competition to name the new planet, noted the network.

Astronomers believe that WASP-142b is about the size of Jupiter but is close enough to its sun to circle it every two days. CNN said planets that orbit a sun often are easier to find because astronomers uses the shadow it cast while crossing its sun as one of its indicators of its presence.

"Tom is keen to learn about science, so it was easy to train him to look for planets," said Coel Hellier, who leads the WASP project at Keele.

NASA's Kepler Mission, which surveys Earth's region of the Milky Way galaxy to look for Earth-size and smaller planets in or near a habitation zones, has confirmed 1,028 of what it calls exoplanets while another 4,661 fall in the "candidates" category, according to NASA.


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A 15-year-old boy discovered a new planet about 1,000 light years away from the Milky Way galaxy while serving as an intern at an English college.
15-tear-old, discovers, new, planet, intern
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2015-27-12
Friday, 12 Jun 2015 07:27 AM
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