Start your Challenge

Welcome Exoplanet Detectives! Start your Hack an Exoplanet challenge now! To know more about your mission, watch the Introduction to Hack an Exoplanet video below. Once you’re ready to start your investigation, proceed to Step 1 – Analyse the data. You will need your case files and exoplanet investigation map to take on the challenge! […]

Step 5 – Composition

Step 5 – Composition In our Solar System, planets are usually divided into two categories: rocky and gaseous. However, exoplanets can be very different from the neighbouring planets we are used to. The mass, M, of an exoplanet cannot be determined from the transit method, but other methods like radial velocity can. When both the […]

Step 4 – Temperature and Habitability

Step 4 – Temperature and Habitability To this day, Earth is the only place in the universe that is known to host life. It is also unknown if life could develop and exist in conditions very dissimilar to the ones that exist on our planet. When examining exoplanets and defining the possible conditions for habitability, […]

Step 3 – Orbital Period and Distance

Step 3 – Orbital Period and Distance The orbital period, T, of a planet is the time it takes the planet to complete one full orbit around its star. If multiple transits of the same exoplanet are observed, then the time interval between consecutive transits – detected dips in the light curve – is a […]

Step 2 – The Size of the Exoplanet

Step 2 – The Size of the Exoplanet The depth of the exoplanet transit is equivalent to the ratio of the area of the planet’s disc and the area of the star’s disc. By measuring the transit’s depth from the transit light curve and knowing the stellar radius (Rs) you can determine the exoplanet’s radius […]

Step 1 – Access the data

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Step 1 – Access the data To complete your detective’s mission you need to select your target and access the Cheops satellite data. We suggest that you start your mission with KELT-3b. Astronomers use specific software tools to analyse the data and fit mathematical models. Access the data using one of the two options below.   […]

Hack an Exoplanet Guide for Educators

Hack an Exoplanet Guide for Educators Brief description: In this activity, students will characterise two exoplanets by analysing data acquired by ESA’s Cheops satellite. Students will work as real scientists and fit a model to the data to retrieve the best fit parameters. The activity can be completed using a guided format or in a […]