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Thursday, May 19, 2022
Home When a planet crosses directly between us and its star, we see the star dim slightly because the planet is blocking out a portion of the light. Measuring these dips in starlight is one technique, which is known as the “transit method,” that scientists use to identify exoplanets. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) When a planet crosses directly between us and its star, we see the star dim slightly because the planet is blocking out a portion of the light. Measuring these dips in starlight is one technique, which is known as the “transit method,” that scientists use to identify exoplanets. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

When a planet crosses directly between us and its star, we see the star dim slightly because the planet is blocking out a portion of the light. Measuring these dips in starlight is one technique, which is known as the “transit method,” that scientists use to identify exoplanets. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

When a planet crosses directly between us and its star, we see the star dim slightly because the planet is blocking out a portion of the light. Measuring these dips in starlight is one technique, which is known as the “transit method,” that scientists use to identify exoplanets. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

When a planet crosses directly between us and its star, we see the star dim slightly because the planet is blocking out a portion of the light. Measuring these dips in starlight is one technique, which is known as the “transit method,” that scientists use to identify exoplanets. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Illustration of an exoplanet. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)
In 2014, NASA’s Swift mission detected a record-setting series of X-ray flares unleashed by DG CVn, a nearby binary consisting of two red dwarf stars, illustrated here. At its peak, the initial flare was brighter in X-rays than the combined light from both stars at all wavelengths under normal conditions. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)