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Transit Method Diagram

transit method diagram for observing exoplanets

A simplified schematic illustration showing the principle behind detecting exoplanets using the “transit” method. As the exoplanet (small, dark circles) eclipses its host star, it moves from left to right in the diagram, reducing the observed intensity of the host star (as measured by a distant observer). The intensity of light from the system measured by a distant observer is then characterized by a dip (lower curve in the diagram). The size of the exoplanet relative to the host star and other factors (such as the opacity profile of the exoplanet) determine the precise shape of the dip.

See also this animation of a transit using real data.

Learn more about exoplanets and methods of detection with Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems.

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File under: How are exoplanets detected? How are extrasolar planet studied? What is the tranist method? How does the transit method work? Occultations and eclipses of exoplanets.

© Tahir Yaqoob 2011.