Maren W. 2023 | BASIS Independent Brooklyn
- Project Title: Exoplanets and their Properties
- Basis Independent Advisor: Josh Winter
- Internship Location: Mississippi University (remote)
- Onsite Mentor: Dr. Angelle Tanner
Over 5,300 exoplanets have been confirmed in our universe as of March 1st, 2023. We can also see an estimated 8 × 1019 stars from Earth, only about 4% of the total stars in the observable universe. It is significantly harder to detect planets than stars because planets don’t give off light. Astrophysicists have no idea how many planets exist in our universe, but there are likely just as many planets as there are stars. That leaves billions of trillions of planets to be discovered, and I am contributing to that search through my Senior Project. The ultimate goal of this project is to graph and discover a new exoplanet using NASA telescope data and the transit method of exoplanet detection. In order to do so, I am working with Dr. Angelle Tanner, a professor at Mississippi State, along with NASA’s Exoplanet watch to access the telescope archives, to develop a series of light curves with the data, and confirm the existence of new planets. This project will include an in-depth research paper on the history of exoplanet research and an analysis of my own research as well as a detailed graph of my findings. Exoplanet research is vital to directing new telescopes with targeted data, discovering extraterrestrial life, and truly understanding our universe.