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Summer Career Connections Session 5, Day 3, Astrophysics: Extrasolar Planets

Posted by on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 3:

What an unusual start to our SAVY day – storm delay!!  We used our time to do some impromptu speaking – I was VERY impressed that everyone decided to volunteer at least once during our session – either with just speaking or choosing drawing or charades.  We all had a fun time 🙂  While we weren’t in our own room, we were able to discuss some excellent (and legitimate) websites and ways to find extrasolar planets.  

Here’s our list for this time period:

After getting back into our room, we worked on a worksheet to help bring together several concepts and work on working together.  After a bit of talking about what one does when working with others, we dug in.  Some had some struggles, there were also struggles on working together, some struggled to focus, however, all of that is part of the process of learning.  One big thing was looking at different ways to describe temperature:   


After digesting what the worksheet helped us focus on (where we should see certain masses/types of planets, we started looking at extrasolar planet graphs!  We used a Vanderbilt-designed website called where I’ve used an API grab to upload data daily from the NASA Exoplanet Archive: Filtergraph Exoplanets (VandyAstroLab version).  We ended the day exploring some of the graphs in this and in the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.  Tomorrow, we will dive deeper into these two websites.

To end the day, we again did impromptu speaking but added level TWO!  Ask about it 🙂

Questions for your dinner table:

  • How did impromptu speaking go for you?  Why do you think you’ve been asked to speak this way?
  • What kinds of planets are easiest to find using our current technology?  Why?
  • How was the experience of working through a worksheet at SAVY?  What did you notice about yourself, about your group, about other groups?  
  • What was so unexpected about data in the graph of exoplanet mass and orbital period for extrasolar planets known so far?  (It’s reproduced below)

Have a great evening!

-Dr. G 🙂