A high school kid just discovered a new planet

Contributed by
Jun 12, 2015

What had you accomplished by the age of 15? Probably not as much as English high school student Tom Wagg. 

Wagg has discovered a brand-new gas-giant exoplanet during a work experience study at Keele University in England. The aspiring astronomer spotted the exoplanet two years ago, and it’s now been confirmed as a brand-new alien world. Dubbed WASP-142b, the planet is approximately 1,000 light-years away from Earth. The planet is approximately the same size is Jupiter, and is so close to its host star that it orbits in two days. So, yeah, we won’t be going there for a visit anytime soon. 

According to Space, the planet was discovered by analyzing data gathered by the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) project, which looks for dips in stars' brightness caused by planets passing in front of them. It’s similar to what NASA's Kepler spacecraft does, and has led to the discovery of thousands of planets.

With his planet officially recognized, Wegg (at the ripe old age of 17) said he was “hugely excited” about finding the planet. Of course he is, because it’s awesome. He plans to study physics once he gets to college. We’re thinking a minor in astronomy might not be the worst idea, though.

(Via Space)

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