In this activity, students explore the transit method of searching for planets. They plot graphs of light measurements from stars, searching for dimming that indicates the presence of a planet, and calculate its size.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • understand the transit method for detecting extrasolar planets
  • understand that, even though distant planets cannot be seen, their presence can be detected by their effect on something else
  • use data to predict scientific outcomes
  • work with other people to achieve a shared goal
  • plot a line graph.

Download the Word file for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • student handouts.
    Published 1 April 2009, Updated 18 August 2014