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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — NASA is crediting so-called “citizen scientists” with helping to make a huge discovery in space.

It’s a giant gaseous planet about 379 light-years from Earth, orbiting a star with the same mass as the Sun.

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This illustration depicts a Jupiter-like exoplanet called TOI-2180 b. It was discovered in data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (Source:NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt)

This is an illustration of the new planet discovered by scientists who were collaborating with professional astronomers, according to NASA.

The planet is about the same size as Jupiter, but with about three times the mass.

The citizen scientists were able to help NASA pin down the planet’s size and mass and track it.

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They did this through online volunteer projects that allow anyone to look through NASA telescope data for signs of planets beyond our solar system.

The signature for the newly discovered planet was hiding in data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. Using TESS data, scientists look for changes in brightness of nearby stars, which could indicate the presence of orbiting planets.

The finding was published in the Astronomical Journal and presented at an American Astronomical Society virtual press event on January 13.

NASA has a wide variety of citizen science collaborations across topics ranging from Earth science to the Sun to the wider universe. Anyone in the world can participate. Check out the latest opportunities at

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