In Search of Your Planet: Finding a Signal
Your planet is sending you a signal that says, "I'm here": The signal is the slight dip in the brightness of the star, as the planet passes in front of the star during each orbit.
The challenge you face is shared by all researchers who try to find a signal in the midst of what looks like "noise." This is true whether you're trying to find the effectiveness of a new drug, marketing a new soft drink, or looking for a planet trillions of miles out in space.
Analyze Your Graph
Discuss With Your Team:
- How many points will you need before you think you can see a transit in your data? Will more points help?
- Did you expect the points to form a smooth curve?
- Are you surprised at the amount of "scatter" in your data?
- How will you determine the baseline—the star's brightness when there is no transit?
- How will you determine how deep the transit is? Where will you draw the bottom of the transit?