Part 2: Transit Simulation

exoplanet demo

Your team will now work to find a relationship between the size of an exoplanet and the amount of light that it blocks from it's parent star.

Your instructor will show you a demo consisting of a bright light source, which simulates a star, and several small spheres hung from thin wire. The readout from a photosensor is plotted on a large display as the spheres are moved in front of the light source.

Discussion

Within your team, try to predict what the result will be if a sphere of half the diameter of the first is moved in front of the light source. Share your conclusions and reasoning with the rest of the class.

The instructor will repeat the demonstration with a sphere that is half the diameter of the first. Does the result seem to verify your reasoning?

Determine a general rule that relates the size of an exoplanet to how much light it blocks from its parent star. You can use this simple planetary transit tool to simulate transits for many sizes of stars and exoplanets. Do the absolute magnitude or temperature of the parent star have an effect on this result?

transit sim
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