Finding Exoplanets (a simulation)
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
FINDING EXOPLANETS - A SIMULAITON
Have any affirmations, questions, problems or suggestions? Contact:
Richard L. Bowman, PhD
937 College Ave.
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Created and maintained by: Richard L. Bowman (2002-2012; last updated: 23-Apr-12)