Exoplanet Project


Figure 1: 500 Planets (click on the image to display a larger version).
Credit: Martin Vargic

Until around 30 years ago, we only knew of the eight (or maybe nine !) planets around our own Sun. However, it was long thought that other stars would also contain their own planetary systems. This field of study has developed from the first discoveries back in the early 1990s until today where we know of thousands of these exoplanets.

You may want to read more about the history of exoplanets or find out more about our own Solar System so you can compare it with these more distant and less understood objects.

Alternatively, you can find out about the properties of exoplanets and what the habitable zone is and how that relates to places where we might discover life.

You can also find out more about the various detection methods which we can employ as well as previous/current and future missions.

To understand more about these exoplanets, this activity takes you to a website called The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia and explains how you can create graphs (or plots) using data from up to 4000 of these objects (see Figure 1).

You can go straight to the background and instructions for the activity itself, post on the discussion forum or find out about other exoplanet activities and resources that are available.