image credit: NASA, Troy Cryder; image source; larger image
The NASA Kepler observatory searches for extrasolar planets by monitoring about 100,000 stars in a small patch of sky. The observatory looks for stars that periodically dim as a planet passes in front of the star. Kepler was launched in 2009, and by January, 2012, it had already found 33 confirmed extrasolar planets and about 2300 candidates. To learn more, visit Kepler Mission, then click on "About the Mission."
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Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Extrasolar Planets Lab
Visit Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Extrasolar Planets Lab to try to simulations of how extrasolar planets are detected indirectly--that is, without making an image of the planet.
Also, check out Planet Quest Interactives, and click on one of the simulations. You can choose from Extreme Planet Makeover, Planet Quest Timeline, and Alien Safari.