A NASA intern discovered a new planet that’s similar to Tatooine from Star Wars – on his third day of work.
NASA explained that the planet now known as TOI 1338 b is a “circumbinary planet,” which means it orbits two stars. It was discovered by 17 year-old Wolf Cukier on the third day of his summer 2019 internship with NASA.
Cukier was tasked with examining variations in star brightness that had been captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) when he saw a signal from the system called TOI 1338.
“At first I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet,” Cukier said.
TOI 1338 b is the first circumbinary planet to be found by TESS (circumbinary planets have been discovered previously by NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions). It’s about 1,300 light years away in the constellation called Pictor. The first of the two stars it orbits is 10% bigger than our Sun while the other is cooler, dimmer, and about a third of our Sun’s mass.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll recall that Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine, orbits two stars, just like TOI 1338 b. “It’s very much like Tatooine, at least how the stars would appear in the sky,” Cuskier told the BBC. “So, it would also have a double sunset.”
Unfortunately, Cuskier says TOI 1338 b is probably too hot for it to be habitable and probably doesn’t have a solid surface. Your Skywalker dreams will have to be put on hold for now.
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=46-movies-that-made-1-billion-at-the-box-office&captions=true”]
Speaking of which, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has now officially crossed $1 billion at the global box office. Why don’t you celebrate by checking out Colin Trevorrow’s leaked script for Star Wars IX? Be warned that it’s full of spoilers, of course.
Chris Priestman is a freelancer who writes news for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.
Source: IGN.com Tatooine-Like Planet Discovered By 17 Year-Old NASA Intern