Teenagers on Work Knowledge End up Discovering Two Exoplanet Candidates - Physics-Astronomy.org

Teenagers on Work Knowledge End up Discovering Two Exoplanet Candidates

For a lot of of us, work experience in high school is a chance to get left from our teachers for a week and get a taste of real working life, but for a collection of teens in the UK, it turned out to be a whole lot more than presently a break from classes.
A group of students in Staffordshire, England chosen to do their work experience at the astrophysics section of Keele University, and while on placement, they managed to find out not just one but two potential exoplanets.
Aged between 15 and 17 years old, the 24 student were split into four groups to look at thousands of 'light curve' readings – measurements of stellar intensity, recorded by NASA's Kepler observatory. As part of Keele's ongoing study, they were specifically look for rare circumbinary exoplanets – the kinds of Tatooine-style worlds that orbit two stars, much like Luke Skywalker's dirty home planet.
While they didn't find evidence for any circumbinary worlds, one group establish what looks to be a strong applicant for an exoplanet orbiting a single star. The Neptune-sized planet come into view to have a 19-day orbit around a star very much like our own Sun, and is located some 800 light-years away.
Josh, 15, from Trentham High School, complete the initial discovery while analysing the light curve data.
"It's been a fun week, and I've met latest people, and you'd never do this anywhere else," he said. "And because the in order is all public, if I want to, I can now go home and do more study myself, and learn more."
As Josh's team wrote up the details of their find for appearance to the other students, one of the other groups recognized a second likely exoplanet, of a similar size and orbit as the first detection.
"We think this is probably one more exoplanet candidate," said researcher Rob Jeffries from Keele's Astrophysics Group, who will now follow up on the explore the students started. "And it's remarkably similar to the first one we establish. This one's got an orbital stage of about 18 days, and is also about the size of Neptune."Wagg notice the planet, located 1,000 light-years from Earth, when he detect its brightness dip slightly as another planet passed in front of it, analysing data from the Wide Angle look for for Planets (WASP) survey.
"I'm hugely excited to have a found a latest planet and I'm very impressed that we can discover them so far away," Wagg said last year, when the corroboration was announced.
All we can say is it's amazing to see student get so hands-on with searching for exoplanets at their work experience placements – it certainly beats attractive coffee and topping up the office printer's toner.
If you're interested in this kind of study yourself, it's worth asking at any local universities to see if they offer similar work placement for high school student. Happy hunting!
Teenagers on work knowledge end up discovering two exoplanet candidates

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