Planet Orbiting a Star

Finding Exoplanets (a simulation)

Simulation          Lab Exercise


Since the early 1990's (more info), the existence of approximately 760 extrasolar planets or exoplanets, i.e., planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, has been documented. Most of these 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 can then be analyzed for indications of the existence of smaller, Earth-size, exoplanets. The launch of the Kepler Mission occurred on March 6, 2009. It is scheduled to last 3.5 years but could be extended up to a total of 6 years. (As of February 2012, the Kepler Mission has discovered more than 2000 exoplanet candidates, a number of which have already been confirmed. So this is an exciting time for exoplanet scientists.)

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.

Note Before Executing The Exoplanet Simulation Below

  1. Your browser must be capable of interpreting JavaScript..
  2. Your browser must be configured to allow the use of cookies.



Web Sites

Have any affirmations, questions, problems or suggestions? Contact:

Richard L. Bowman, PhD
937 College Ave.
Harrisonburg, VA 22802

(540) 434-0892

PhysAstro Sims    Phys-Astro Sims

Created and maintained by: Richard L. Bowman (2002-2012; last updated: 23-Apr-12)