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Discovering Exoplanets

Discovering Exoplanets

In this activity you will build a model of an exoplanet orbiting a star to investigate how physicists use a transit to detect exoplanets.

What you’ll need:

  • Lamp
  • Ruler
  • Polystyrene balls
  • Webcam and Light-Grapher software

What you need to do:

  1. Using the lamp as your star, decide how to model the transit of a planet as it orbits around the star.
  2. Measure the brightness of your star using Light-Grapher software on the computer.
  3. Use the Light-Grapher software to capture the light-curve of your star as your planet orbits.
  4. Use the Excel spreadsheet to calculate the radius of the exoplanet(s).
  5. Vary the size and speed of the exoplanet and calculate some more radii.