Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I just learned that some people associated with NASA's Kepler mission have created a Lego orrery! An orrery is a device that shows the relative sizes and distances of planets in a solar system. The Lego orrery will demonstrate the transit method, the method NASA scientists will use to try to find planets outside of our solar system. (Finding extrasolar planets is Kepler's mission.) The satellite includes a telescope that will detect faint waverings of light emitted by stars, waverings that will indicate that a planet has passed in front of the star, briefly blocking its radiation.