How To Find Your Own Exoplanet

How To Find Your Own Exoplanet

Ever fancied trying to find your very own exoplanet but thought it was only for professional astronomers? It appears that discovering distant worlds around far away stars is now becoming the realm of the backyard astronomer. Who knows the one you find may be the one that harbours life. 

Kepler 22b artwork

Artist's impression of Kepler 22-b Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech 

Finding exoplanets means measuring the light from a star and looking for the telltale dip in the star's light that happens when a planet crosses in front of the star. Find the dip once and you may be onto something, find it twice and you now know how long the planet takes to orbit the star. If the dip in light occurs a third time at the same regular interval and you have found yourself a planet.

The type of dip in light you are looking for. Credit: Поташев Роман Евгеньевич

Kepler 6b transit graph

But the dip in light is far too small for a backyard astronomer to detect I hear you saying. The article references people that have found a planet with a 2.4 inch aperture telescope! It then goes on to recommend a set-up that should hopefully allow most amateur astronomers to be able to detect an exoplanet.

It recommends as a minimum:

Buy Celestron C8-SGT Here

Celestron C8-SGT Telescope (8 inch)

Orion StarShoot G3 Deep Space Color Imaging Camera

Here is a short video by Orion demonstrating the Starshoot G3.

and a laptop.

The software is free courtesy of NASA and you can download it from here:

This isn't too expensive a set-up to get started with and would certainly add a new dimension to stargazing nights.

Link to article:

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