Fr.: méthode du transit
A method for detecting → exoplanets that is based on the decrease of star → brightness when the exoplanet passes in front of its star. As the planet transits, a portion of the light from the star is blocked causing a decrease in the → magnitude of the star. The amount of decrease (typically between 0.01% and 1%) depends on the sizes of the star and the planet. The duration of the transit depends on the planet's distance from the star and the star's mass. This change must be periodic if it is caused by a planet. In addition, all transits produced by the same planet must be of the same change in brightness and last the same amount of time. Once detected, the planet's distance from its star can be calculated from the period and the mass of the star using → Kepler's third law of planetary motion. The size of the planet is found from the depth of the transit and the size of the star. From the orbital size and the temperature of the star, the planet's characteristic temperature can be calculated. Knowing the star's mass and size, the planet's size and distance can be estimated. Also the composition of a → transiting planet's atmosphere can, in principle, be determined.