In this project, we use a light bulb and a light sensor to simulate exoplanet detection.
- Light bulb
- A room that can be made dark
- Large plastic beads (multiple sizes)
- Digital light sensor (TSL2561)
- Arduino with Grove shield
- Computer and USB cable
- Place a bead on the string.
- Tie the string to something placed above the light bulb (you could use a shelf or ring stand).
- Connect the light sensor to an I2C plug on your Arduino.
- Connect the Arduino to the computer using the USB cable.
- In the Sensor Plotter, add a digital light sensor (TSL2561).
- Observe how the light sensor values change as you cover it with your hand.
- Turn off overhead lights and cover any windows, so that the only light is from your experiment light bulb.
- Spin the plastic bead around the bulb.
- You may need to try different distances between the bulb and the light sensor to get good readings.
- Can you see changes in the light level as the exoplanet (bead) passes in front of its star (the bulb)?
- What differences do you see if the exoplanet is orbiting quickly or slowly?
- Can you estimate the exoplanet's orbital period (the amount of time it takes for the exoplanet to circle the star)?
- What if you change the size of the exoplanet (using different sizes of beads)?
- How small can it be before you can no longer detect it?