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NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle via Getty Images

Securing an internship in high school or college is an excellent way to learn more about a career path and make invaluable contacts. As someone who benefited from a college internship, I highly recommend the experience to all students.

Sure, some internships involve little more than fetching coffee but, every now and then, you might actually have the opportunity to do some real work. It’s all about what you put into it. Just ask Wolf Cukier. He made the most of his internship at NASA, and then some.

The 17-year-old high school senior from Scarsdale, NY interned at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD last summer. While there, Wolf was asked to analyze variations in star brightness with data gathered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). After only three days on the job, Cukier made a rare discovery: a planet orbiting two stars.

Wolf found the planet inside the constellation Pictor, which is about 1,300 light-years from Earth. It’s 6.9 times larger than Earth and is the only known planet inside the TOI 1338 binary star system.

The discovery was announced at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu this month. For now, the planet is simply known as TOI 1338 b, but it seems like NASA should eventually name it after its young discoverer. In any case, this is an impressive accomplishment for someone who isn’t even old enough to vote yet.

I’m guessing that colleges and universities have been throwing scholarship offers at Wolf Cukier. And NASA probably wouldn’t mind having him back again this summer. See? Internships.

TESS Satellite Discovered Its 1st World Orbiting 2 Stars

Researchers working with data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have discovered the mission's first circumbinary planet, a world orbiting two stars. The planet, called TOI 1338b, is around 6.9 times larger than Earth, or between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn. It lies in a system 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Pictor.