A 15-year-old schoolboy recently found a new planet orbiting the star 1000 light years away in Milky Way.
Tom Wagg was doing work-experience at Keele University when he spotted the planet by finding a tiny dip in the light of a star as a planet passed in front of it.
Wagg, a pupil at Newcastle-under-Lyme School, found the planet by looking at data collected by the WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) project, which surveys the night skies monitoring millions of stars to look for the tell-tale tiny dips (transits) caused by planets passing in front of their host star.
The planet has been given the catalogue number WASP-142b, being the 142nd discovery by the WASP collaboration. It is in the Southern constellation of Hydra.
The planet is one of a class of “hot Jupiter” planets, which unlike the planets in Earth’s Solar System have very tight orbits close to their stars. They are thought to have migrated inwards through interactions with another planet. Thus it is likely that Tom’s planet is not the only planet orbiting that star.
The planet does not yet have a name, though the International Astronomical Union has started a contest to name extra-solar planets.