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Astrophysics Variety Hour

How do astronomers find planets beyond our solar system...without even seeing them? Join host Felicia Day on a lighthearted channel-surfing romp that explores where planets and people came from, and how we are finding worlds orbiting distant stars.
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March 29th, 2022

Astrophysics Variety Hour (full show)

How do astronomers find planets beyond our solar system... without even seeing them? Join host Felicia Day on a lighthearted channel-surfing romp that explores where planets and people came from, and how we are finding worlds orbiting distant stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
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March 29th, 2022

What are people, planets, and stars made of? FELICIA DAY EXPLAINS SCIENCE (part 1)

The host of a science show (Felicia Day) explains some of the science behind exoplanets to a floating Drone-bot and a holographic viewer. Explanations include how star systems formed, what the Earth was made from, and the variety of exoplanets that have been detected in our galaxy.
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March 29th, 2022

What are people REALLY made of? QUESTION BOARD (part 2)

A trio of hapless contestants attempt to compete on an astronomy quiz show, and learn what people—along with planets, the Sun, and all other stars—are made of.
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March 29th, 2022

Some of the strangest exoplanets found so far! EXOPLANETS! EXOPLANETS! EXOPLANETS! (part 3)

Want to visit a distant planet outside of our Solar System? Well...you actually can't! They're too far away. But here's the next best thing: a fictional advertisement describing some of the wildest and strangest planets astronomers have detected to date.
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March 29th, 2022

Major atmospheric loss for a distant planet BREAKING NEWS (part 4)

Two news anchors discuss a distant planet named WASP-69b, which evidence suggests is having its atmosphere blasted off into space by its host star.
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March 29th, 2022

Are we just leftover "Sun scraps"? FELICIA DAY EXPLAINS SCIENCE (part 5)

The host of a science show (Felicia Day) explains to a floating Drone-bot the details of how the Earth and everything on it, including people, came from leftover cosmic material after the Sun was formed.
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March 29th, 2022

What makes a scientist a scientist RETRO FILM REEL (part 6)

Being a “scientist” is less about what degree someone has, and more about the methods that they use to make their discoveries! Multiple scientist clones walk through the process in this retro-styled clip.
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March 29th, 2022

Is Hollywood wrong about asteroids SPACE BEES (part 7)

In an animated short set in the future, bees discover technology left behind by space-going humans, and use it to build their own tiny spaceships to explore the galaxy! While being pursued by scheming spiders, the bees learn how Hollywood gets asteroid fields wrong.
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March 29th, 2022

How can you find a planet you can’t see? FELICIA DAY EXPLAINS SCIENCE (part 8)

The host of a science show (Felicia Day) explains how astronomers can discover and map planetary systems around distant stars--including determining the number of planets, their positions, and their orbit speeds—without actually seeing any of the planets themselves! Also includes an explanation of why it's so difficult to see planets around most distant stars.
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March 29th, 2022

Why are exoplanet names so weird? THE SOCIAL ASTRONOMER (part 9)

A charming astronomer explains to a party full of drones the naming convention behind some of the complex-looking names given to recently discovered exoplanets.
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March 29th, 2022

Sir Isaac Newton gets schooled on finding exoplanets NEWTON'S GHOST (part 10)

The ghost of Sir Isaac Newton is haunting his great great great grand-niece, Dr. Ivonne! In this sitcom spoof, Newton is trying to catch up on all the science he missed over the past several hundred years, and is particularly curious about the discovery of planets orbiting other stars . Ivonne explains several common techniques of exoplanet discovery including the Radial Velocity technique (detecting a "wobble" in a star), Transit Photometry (measuring tiny dips in a star’s brightness as a planet passes), and Gravitational Lensing (a warping of a distant star’s light by a foreground planet’s gravity field). He even learns that there are planets that don't orbit stars, but rather exist floating in the dark spaces between stars!
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March 29th, 2022

Exoplanet photobombs? THE SOCIAL ASTRONOMER (part 11)

A charming astronomer explains to a party full of drones how it's occasionally possible--but difficult--to photograph a planet around another star, and how it might become more common in the future.
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March 29th, 2022

What exactly is an exoplanet... again? FELICIA DAY EXPLAINS SCIENCE (part 12)

The host of a science show (Felicia Day) recaps some of the key science explained in the Astrophysics Variety Hour, including what exoplanets are and how astronomers can discover them.
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March 29th, 2022

Rachel Bloom sings “Planets Blocking Light” SPACE MUSICAL (part 13)

Rachel Bloom performs an original song about discovering planets around distant stars, what astronomers call "exoplanets." In the process, she educates a skeptical drone about how humans can find these distant planets without actually seeing any of the planets themselves.
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March 29th, 2022

Bonus exoplanet clips! ASTROPHYSICS VARIETY HOUR (part 14)

The host of a science show (Felicia Day) bids the viewers goodbye. Includes closing credits of the complete Astrophysics Variety Hour.

Exoplanet Explorations

 

Play Exoplanet Spin

Now that you've watched the Astrophysics Variety Hour, do you think you can win a round of Exoplanet Spin? Try to guess the exoplanet terms each time you spin the wheel. NOTE: Currently works best in desktop browsers.

Visit Other Worlds

NASA's Exoplanet Travel Bureau is your destination for beautiful posters featuring a wild array of amazing worlds and the telescopes that helped astronomers discover and study them.

 

Eyes on Exoplanets lets you navigate a 3D display of all 5000+ confirmed exoplanets throughout our galaxy.

 

Exoplanet Excursions takes you on a virtual reality tour of the TRAPPIST-1 system of 7 Earth-size planets. You can use a VR headset or view it as an immersive movie on your smart phone. 

 

ViewSpace Experiences

ViewSpace offers videos diving into every aspect of the cosmos, including the most exciting exoplanet discoveries. Explore the whole catalog above or check out these topics:

ViewSpace Videos

ViewSpace Interactives

 

AstroPix Images

AstroPix Exoplanet Gallery features illustrations and diagrams of a wide variety of other worlds, closely informed by the science underlying these discoveries.

 

5,000+ Exoplanets!

Cosmic Milestone: NASA Confirms 5,000 Exoplanets

In March 2022, astronomers crossed an incredible threshold, reaching a tally of over 5,000 confirmed exoplanets.

 

5,000 Exoplanets: Listen to the Sounds of Discovery: Hear (and see) how 30 years of exoplanet discovery has led to the recent milestone of over 5,000 confirmed exoplanets in our skies.

 

NASA & Exoplanets

NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Website: Here you will find a rich variety of up-to-date exoplanet information.

5 Ways to find an Exoplanet

 

Hubble: Worlds Around Other Suns

When Hubble launched in 1990, we didn’t even know for certain that there were planets beyond our solar system. Today Hubble works alongside other telescopes to satisfy our curiosity about worlds beyond our solar system.

Webb Space Telescope: Other Worlds

NASA's newly-launched Webb Space Telescope will be a powerful tool for studying exoplanets. 


Learning Resources

 

Exoplanet Activities

Exoplanet Trading Cards provides a set of printable materials that can be used in activities to teach about the many different strange worlds that astronomers have discovered.  

 

The TRAPPIST-1 Scale Model gives you the materials you need to run an activity that lets participants see the real scale of this extraordinary exoplanetary system of 7 Earth-size worlds. With enough space you can put it in context with a scale model of our own solar system as well.

 

NASA's Universe of Learning connects the public to the data, discoveries, and experts that span NASA’s Astrophysics missions. All of our projects and events are designed to inspire engagement and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). You can learn more about the project at the link above.

Universe of Learning resource guides related to exoplanets include:

Other Solar Systems, Other Earths

Life and Death of Stars

 

Find Your Own Exoplanets

DIY Planet Search has all the tools an amateur astronomer will need to help scientists better understand the movements of these planets around other stars by taking your own measurements of known exoplanets. Learn how to choose a target star, measure its brightness, and share your findings with the community. 

 

 

Exoplanet Watch is a citizen science project, currently geared toward amateur astronomers and astronomy students at colleges and universities, to observe transiting exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — with small telescopes. The website will show you how to get started with your own telescope, or how to search existing datasets for signs of exoplanets.