An artist’s rendering of WASP 142b (Image: David A. Hardy)
Most 15-year-olds spend their time searching for things more mundane than exoplanets. But while interning at Keele University, in England, one teenager found “a tiny dip in the light of a star,” the university says. It looked like it might be evidence of an exoplanet—a planet orbiting a star other than the sun. This one was 1,000 light years away from the Milky Way.
Two years later, Tom Wagg is 17, and it’s finally official: He discovered a new exoplanet, now named WASP 142b. In the past few years, scientists have been finding planets all over the universe at an incredible clip—earthlings have now documented more than 1,000 other planets circling around other stars.
Wagg’s planet is large, about the size of Jupiter, the university says, and has a super-fast orbit, just two days in length. But it’s most notable because of the youth of the person who discovered it. Wagg hasn’t even gone to university yet! The rest of us need to get cracking on our out-of-this-world discoveries.
Tom Wagg (Photo: Keele University)
Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to firstname.lastname@example.org.