Introduction

Since the early 1990's (more info) until today, August 2015, the existence of approximately 2000 extrasolar planets or exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than our Sun) has been confirmed. There are several thousand more possible candidates which have yet to be confirmed.

Most of the confirmed exoplanets have been large gaseous planets with masses just less than to many times more than Jupiter's mass. However, the Kepler Mission has a photometer designed to collect data for many years on the light output from many star. This data has then been analyzed for indications of the existence of smaller, Earth-size, exoplanets. The launch of the Kepler Mission occurred on March 6, 2009. It was scheduled to last 3.5 to 6 years, but the failure of the second of four gyroscope wheels in 2013, the spacecraft has been reconfigured so that only two wheels are necessary for a reconfigured next mission referred to as the K2 mission.

There are three primary methods that can be used by astronomers to locate exoplanets.

The simulation provided here uses photometry (or measuring the decrease of the light coming from a star as a planet transits across its face) to search for potentially habitable exoplanets.

Before Executing The Exoplanet Simulation Below:

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FFinding Exoplanets--the Simulation
Resources

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Richard L. Bowman, PhD
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