ORBYTS Week 3 – Creating code to analyse transits

ORBYTS Week 3 – Creating code to analyse transits

This blog post has been written by Julia Osiak, from Highams Park School, who is participating in the 2017-2018 ORBYTS Programme.

The 3rd ORBYTS session took place on Tuesday the 5th of December 2017. This time we learnt more about the transit curves and using Python to create code to solve many equations at once.  We found out that when a planet passes in front of its star, blocking some of its light it is called a transitioning planet. As seen from Earth, Mercury and Venus are the only planets of our solar system that make transits of the Sun as they are the only  planets with orbits between he Sun and Earth. A transitioning planet produces a light curve as shown in the diagram below:

From this light curve it is possible to determine the size of the transitioning planet, its distance from the sun and the length of its orbit. This week we also created some code using the coding language Python. Our code was made to apply the transit equation to an array containing the radii of 3 planets: Earth, Jupiter and Venus. The equation we used let us calculate the percentage  change in the stars brightness (B). We used arrays and loops to create the code as shown below:


Once we run the code we are given the calculated values of “B” for each radius in the “Renj” array. Below you can see the output: