8A60.60 - Extrasolar Planets

View of the sky around the star HD 10180 Credit: ESO
View of the sky around the star HD 10180 Credit: ESO
Code Number:
8A60.60
Demo Title:
Extrasolar Planets
Condition:
Good
Principle:
Planets Outside the Solar System
Area of Study:
Solar System
Equipment:
Computer and Vernier Interface, Light Sensor, Variac, 40 Watt Light Bulb, Various Size Balls on Sticks, "Interstellar Dust" Plates, and Tin Foil.
Procedure:

Set the light sensor to 600 lux and point it at the 40 watt "star".  Adjust the voltage to the light until the trace is between 200 and 300 lux.  Hit "collect" and rotate one of the balls around the light bulb.  Note that the trace will also go above the reading of just the sensor looking at the light bulb if you can also reflect enough light from a "planet" with a high albedo into the sensor.

The situation of trying to distinguish a small planet while looking through interstellar dust can be simulated by placing the dust plates between the sensor and star as you do the demonstration.  You may also use the small air pollution indicator for this by positioning the desired opacity window directly in front of the sensor.

References:
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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.