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

Primary March 29th, 2022

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.

Starring Felicia Day. With Whitney Avalon, Lauren Lopez, Burl Moseley, and Joey Richter.

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.