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Exoplanet Atmospheres Science: Determining Atmospheric Composition of Exoplanets
written by Shannon Willoughby and Rebecca E. Vieyra
edited by Caroline Hall
This lecture tutorial by the NASA Space Science Education Consortium introduces students to the idea of how spectroscopy can provide information about the atmospheric composition of planets outside our solar system. Students interpret graphs and examine spectral patterns to explore how astronomers identify elements in a distant planet's atmosphere using space and Earth-based spectroscopy instruments. This resource is appropriate for a course in introductory astronomy or within an algebra-based high school physics course.

This Lecture Tutorial is the guiding activity in the NASA-SSEC Exoplanet Atmospheres Digi Kit, a project funded by NASA and Temple University.
Editor's Note: See Supplementary document titled, "Teacher's Notes", developed specifically to support this Lecture Tutorial. Teacher's Notes provides background information on blackbody radiation, the transit method of exoplanet detection, and emission/absorption spectra. It can be used as a refresher for teachers or as a flipped lesson for high school students.

NGSS Standards (17)

Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Exoplanets
= Detection Methods
= Properties
- Fundamentals
= Spectra
- Instrumentation
= Infrared Astronomy
- Space Exploration
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Radiation
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
Quantum Physics
- Scattering and Unbound Systems
= Spectroscopy
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Tutorial
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
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