Exoplanets


Planet transit in front of a star
 
One of the methods for detecting exoplanets is to look for the drop in brightness they cause when they pass in front of their parent star. Such a celestial alignment is known as a planetary transit.

From Earth, both Mercury and Venus occasionally pass across the front of the Sun. When they do, they look like tiny black dots passing across the bright surface.

Such transits block a tiny fraction of the light that COROT is able to detect.