High-school students deemed the four exoplanets of 200 X-light-years to be ‘the youngest astronomers’ using space-based TESS.
- 16-year-old Karthik Pingley and 18-year-old Jasmine Wright discovered four new exoplanets
- The pair used the TAS satellite 200-light-years away from a Sun-like star
- Three of the planets are sub-Neptune and the other one is super-Earth
Two high school students have identified four new exoplanets about 200 light-years from Earth to make such a discovery, portraying them as the ‘youngest astronomers’.
16-year-old Karthik Pingley and 18-year-old Jasmine Wright, who both attend school in Massachusetts, attended the Student Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the Center for Astrophysics. Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA).
With the help of Tansu Dayalan, a postdoc at MIT Kavali Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, the students studied and analyzed the data of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Together, they focused on the Tess Object of Interest (TOI) 1233, a nearby, bright sun-like star and here they found four planets revolving around the star.
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Two high school students have identified four new exoplanets about 200 light-years from Earth to make such a discovery, portraying them as the ‘youngest astronomers’. Karthik Pingley (left), 16, and Jasmine Wright (right), 18, both attend school in Massachusetts
“We wanted to see the light change over time,” Pingley explained. ‘The idea is that if the planet crosses the star, or passes in front of it, it will be [periodically] Cover the star and reduce its brightness. ‘
TESS is a space-based satellite, which has discovered more than 20,000 transiting exoplanets – some of which may be super-Earths in the habitable zone.
While examining 1233, Pingley and Wright hoped to find at least one planet, but were overwhelmed with joy when a total of four were spotted.
“I was very excited and very surprised,” Wright said. ‘We knew this was the goal of Daylan’s research, but to find a truly multicultural system, and part of the team that did the search, was really cool.’
Together, they focused on the Tess Object of Interest (TOI) 1233, a nearby, bright sun-like star and here they found four planets revolving around the star. Three of the newly discovered planets are considered ‘sub-Neptune’ and the fourth one is ‘super-Earth’ (artist influence)
Three of the newly discovered planets are considered ‘sub-Neptunes’, which are gaseous, but smaller than Neptune that live in our solar system.
Observing the planets, the team determined that each completed its orbit around 633 every six to 19.5 days.
However, the fourth planet is labeled ‘Super-Earth’ for its large size and rockiness – it orbits around the star in only four days.
‘Our species has long been considering planets beyond our solar system and with a multi-planetary system, you’re hitting the jackpot,’ Dylan said.
‘The planets originated from the same matter disk around the same star, but they ended up having different planets with different atmospheres and different climates due to their different orbits. Therefore, we would like to understand the basic processes of planet formation and development using this planetary system. ‘
TESS is a space-based satellite that has discovered more than 20,000 transiting exoplanets – some of which may be super-Earths located in habitable zones
Daylan said that working with Pingley and Wright on the study was a ‘win-win’.
‘As a researcher, I really enjoy interacting with young minds who are open to experimentation and learning and have minimal bias.’
‘I also think it is very beneficial for high school students, as they get exposure to cutting-edge research and it prepares them for a research career early.’