Overview: Image of a planet orbiting another star

Overview
of "Tales of … The first image of a planet orbiting another star"
Description:
Tales of … The first image of a planet orbiting another star explains how the Hubble Space Telescope found and imaged a planet called "Fomalhaut b." This marks the first time astronomers have captured the image of a planet orbiting another star. The planet is thought to be a gas giant that is three times larger than Jupiter, with an extensive ring system to make it bright enough for the camera to capture it.
Format(s) available: Printer-friendly Web page
Grades: 9-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion.
How to use it in the classroom

Teachers can use Tales of … The first image of a planet orbiting another star as:

A content reading selection. Teachers should discuss the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary prior to having students read this selection.

An engagement activity. Have students read the selection. Ask them to to identify the events that led astronomers to capture the images of the planet around the star Fomalhaut.

An inquiry tool. Propose a question, such as "Have astronomers ever captured the image of a planet outside the solar system?” Have students read the selection and write down as many questions as they can about the information in the text.

A source of information. Students can use this as an example of how astronomers have found more than 300 planets orbiting other stars. The story also highlights the next steps in the process of finding habitable worlds around other stars.

Related materials

Press release: "Hubble Directly Observes Planet Orbiting Fomalhaut"
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2008/39

Press release: "Elusive Planet Reshapes a Ring Around Neighboring Star"
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2005/10



Overview: Image of a planet orbiting another star