A typical teen life consists of trying to get good grades and monkeying around with friends. But consider this: Imagine, at 15 years of age, while working on a space project at a prestigious University, you just happen to discover a new planet, and therefore, you are labeled by astronomers as the youngest person to ever discover a planet.
It might seem like too much to bite on at once, but for one British teen, this is how he spent one week of his summer.
Tom Wagg, now 17, is truly something extraordinary — and his colleagues believe so too.
The Discovery Of A Lifetime
In 2013, Wagg, a 15-year-old student at Newcastle-under-Lyme School at the time, decided to carry through with a “work experience” project at Keele University, the Washington Post reported.
Wagg was all ears after learning about the summer research study at Keele University. Not too long after, Wagg started working as an intern at Keele University under the wing of Professor Coel Hellier. There, he had the privilege of giving a helping hand by analyzing data from the WASP (University’s Wide Angle Search for Planets), a powerful computer program.
Having kept his ear to the ground for three consecutive days, the British teen finally hit gold and made a discovery — 1,000 light-years away — that would forever change his life.
However, with all planet observations, it wasn’t until two years later, in June 2015, when astronomers finally authenticated his findings. The gas planet, named WASP-142b, is about the same size as Jupiter and is considered the 142nd planet to have been discovered by the WASP system.
Tom’s planet — which can be seen in the artist’s depiction as a hot orange color — only takes two days to orbit its star. The depiction, made by David Hardy, paints the picture of WASP-142b from the viewpoint of its hypothetical moon, as Inquisitr reported on Thursday.
The Internet’s Reaction
The sensational story of a British teen discovering a new planet had astronomers and mainstream media outlets hooked. Opinion pieces, like the one published by the Guardian on Friday, asked its readers to share the most remarkable achievements during their work experience.
Meanwhile, social media blew up with some elegant reactions in response to Wagg’s astounding discovery:
A 15 year old work experience kid finds a new planet and I still can’t find my keys.. http://t.co/DS5SCuRmAo
— David Giammetta (@David_Giammetta) June 13, 2015
— Katie Callahan (@katiecallawho) June 13, 2015
Want to get noticed during your internship? Discover a new planet — on your *third* day — like Tom Wagg. http://t.co/iX1LzWZw7i
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 12, 2015
— The Sentinel (@SentinelStaffs) June 10, 2015
Tom Wagg’s discovery of a new planet also trended on Facebook and Tumblr, among other places, for a short while — raising countless eyebrows. Oh, and Tom’s mom, Emma, also reacted:
Proud mum 🙂 http://t.co/WZ0pNxLPsG via @po_st
— EmmaW (@ejw232) June 10, 2015
Unsurprisingly enough, after having been lucky enough to receive tons of media and online praise, Wagg says he plans to study physics, where he soon hopes to pursue a career in science.
[Photo Courtesy: Keele University & David A. Hardy]