This work experience kid discovered a new planet. What have you done at work today?

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Thursday 11 June 2015 11:00
Viral

Meet Tom Wagg.

Not content with making the tea, when he was just 15 years old and on a work experience placement at Keele University, he discovered a new planet.

Tom was looking at data collected by the WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) project when he spotted the new planet by finding a tiny dip in the light from a star when the planet passed in front of it.

The new discovery is orbiting a star 1,000 light years away from Earth across the Milky Way, and is approximately the same size as Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

An artist's impression of the new planet, which is too far away to capture with cameras.

It has taken two years for scientists to determine that Tom's find really is a new planet but now the discovery has been confirmed Tom says he's chuffed.

"I'm hugely excited to have a found a new planet, and I'm very impressed that we can find them so far away'', says Tom, who is now 17 and wants to study physics at university.

Astronomers around the world have used the WASP technology to find more than 1,000 new planets, but Tom is thought to be the youngest interstellar explorer ever.

Tom's planet has been given the catalogue number WASP-142b but he is looking forward to making suggestions for a new name.

More: Here's how much of our galaxy remains unexplored

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