It’s become a common event, finding new planets beyond our solar system. Tom Wagg, however, was the youngest person to make such a discovery, which is uncommon to say the least. According to a press release from Keene University in England, Wagg was only 15 years old when making this epic find.
Located within a distant solar system, within our galaxy, the Milky Way, this planet is 1,000 light years from Earth. If you can locate the constellation Hydra, then you are in the right neighborhood.
The New Distant Planet
Wagg’s planet closely resembles Jupiter in size, orbits its sun in two days, as opposed to our Jupiter which takes 12 years. Another difference from our giant planet is that this “Jupiter” is much closer to the sun, closer even than our planet from our big ball of fire! At this distance, the planet reaches a blazing 1,000 degrees Celsius. A planet such as this falls into a category called “hot Jupiter” planets. The name is self-explanatory.
This planet it reminiscent of a group of exoplanets discovered during the 90s. This group was completely different than anything ever seen before by astronomers.
The WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) – this was how Wagg discovered the “hot Jupiter”. This project combined light collecting abilities from telescopes around the UK. These telescopes generate light charts from a galaxy of stars- which is very impressive!
In a Keene University press release, Wagg says:
“The WASP software allowed me to search through hundreds of stars to detect orbiting planets.”
The distance of the planet to its star and the size play important parts in what makes the planet easy for discovery. Using today’s common telescope, a technique is devised-examining amounts of light blocked as the exoplanet passes between its star and the earth. By graphing the event, every time a planet traverses the face of a star, scientists notice a dip in the amounts of light.
Wagg is now 17 and has plans to study physics in college. It has been two years since his planet discovery. The reason for the delay in broadcasting this information is because the technique used with WASP is not a hundred percent reliable. Other objects could have caused the dip in the light chart, including white dwarfs, glitches and gas clouds. Lucky for us, scientists have followed up with the discovery and Wagg’s findings reveal a real planet.
Who knows what’s in the works for the next 2 years!