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Resources for the segment: "Finding Planets Around Other Stars"
Resources for Educators

Planet Quest: Exoplanet Exploration -- Discover what is beyond our solar system.

3D New Worlds Atlas -- Explore our extrasolar neighborhood in 3-D.

Kepler Homepage -- Find the latest news about the Kepler Mission and the search for habitable planets as well as educational resources, videos and interactive simulations.

Kepler: Educational Resources -- Find all different kinds of resources perfect for inside and outside the classroom that will help students to learn about finding extrasolar planets.

SpaceMath @ NASA -- SpaceMath @ NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in today's scientific discoveries. To access these problems click on the green registration button on the top right and follow the instructions at http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov.

We suggest the following problems related to exoplanets and the Kepler Mission:
  • Problem 349: Exoplanet Orbits and the Properties of Ellipses -- Students determine the basic properties of the elliptical orbits for the planets.
  • Problem 350: Estimating the Temperatures of Exoplanets -- This exercise reviews the basic properties of ellipses by exploring the orbits of newly discovered planets orbiting other stars. Students use a simple formula to determine the temperatures of the planets from their orbits.
  • Problem 360: Kepler's First Look at 700 Transiting Planets -- This is a statistical study of the 700 transits seen during the first 43 days of the mission.
  • Problem 403: The Goldilocks Planets -- Not too hot or cold -- Use a table of the planets discovered by the Kepler satellite to estimate the number of planets in our Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as Earth and located in their habitable zones. Estimate the average temperature of the planets, and study their tabulated properties using histograms.
  • Problem 402: Kepler -- Earth-like planets by the score! -- Use recent Kepler satellite data summarized in tabular form to estimate the number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as Earth and located in their habitable zones where liquid water may exist.
  • Problem 400: The Most Distant Objects in the Universe -- Use tables of the most distant known events and objects in the universe to create a timeline of the universe soon after the big bang.
  • Problem 325: Kepler Spies Five New Planets -- Count squares on a Bizarro Star to study the transit of a planet and determine the diameter of the planet. This demonstrates the basic principle used by NASA's Kepler satellite to search for Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars.
  • Problem 225: Areas Under Curves: An astronomical perspective -- Work with a bar graph of the number of planet discoveries since 1995 to evaluate the total discoveries, as areas under the graph, for various combinations of time periods.

Resources for Students

Space Place: Lucy's Planet Hunt -- Join Lucy in this story as she looks for Earth-like planets.

Interstellar Trip Planner -- How long does it takes to travel to the nearest plant or star? Play this game to find the answer!

3D New Worlds Atlas -- What is beyond our solar system? Explore this simulation to see the 100-plus new planets beyond our solar system.

Planet Quest: The Movie -- Follow this planet hunter in the discovery of his first planet.

Space Place: One Way to Find a Planet -- Learn how NASA uses a tiny wobble in a star's position to help find large planets in other solar systems.

Four Ways to Find a Planet -- How does one look for a new planet?

Design a Planet -- What do humans need live on a planet? Learn about what makes a planet habitable.

Make Colorful Star Cookies -- In this tasty activity, learn about different kinds of stars and what planets might be orbiting other stars.