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This activity, like Agent Exoplanet, allows you to use sample data to measure the change in brightness of a star as a planet passes in front of it. In this activity you will use SalsaJ, a free amateur photometry software program, to measure the brightness of the star by hand. You will then use a spreadsheet to plot your results as a graph and see if you can see your light curve.
Download SalsaJ from the European Hands On Universe Website.
Launch SalsaJ and download our lightcure plotter spreadsheet (you will need a spreadsheet application such as Excel, OpenOffice Spreadsheet or Numbers).
Download and unzip sample data for one of the extrasolar planets below:
Use the screencast below to learn how to use SalsaJ and a spreadsheet to make a light curve for a transiting exoplanet:
Below are the main steps demonstrated by the screencast:
You will end up with a spreadsheet looking something like this:
The dip in the graph shows how the planet was temporarily blocking the light from the star and decreasing the observed brightness as it orbited in front of the star.
After doing this activity you should be able to:
Background articles that are relevant to this project include:
You may also want to try Agent Exoplanet.