Engineering Vision Extenders

Exoplanet Discoveries Computational Thinking Module

Students consider how computers can help scientists search space telescope data for exoplanets. Students incrementally construct an algorithm to calculate the orbital period of candidate exoplanets from light curves.

When you launch each activity, it will open and run in your browser with MATLAB Online.

The Transit Method

View light curves for a simulated star-exoplanet system.

Is it an Exoplanet?

Decide if the light curve shown provides evidence of an exoplanet.

Describe the Pattern

Realize that patterns detected by the human eye need to be described explicitly to a computer.

Iterate the Algorithm

Consider how to modify instructions for a computer so that it selects the desired minima in a light curve.

Iterate Again

Refine an algorithm to calculate the orbital period of a possible exoplanet.

More Complex Data

Identify patterns in data to find one or more of the exoplanets in the Kepler-102 system.

More Data

Test the algorithm against additional datasets.

Youth Engineering Solutions (YES) has created a teacher guide with lessons plans to facilitate the implementation of these live scripts in your classroom. To download free teacher and student materials, visit the YES website.