The Transit Method

In this activity, developed by the Institute of Physics, students use a lamp and polystyrene balls to model how astronomers detect exoplanets using the transit method. After completing this activity, students should: *Understand that the transit of a planet in front of its star temporarily reduces the star’s measured brightness. *Understand that a light-curve is a graph of “brightness” against time. *Describe and explain how different factors (including size of exoplanet and orbital speed) affect the light-curve observed during a transit.

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