How to Observe

Looking through a telescope

If you have your own telescope

  • Exoplanet Watch Observer's Manual
    • ​This manual is designed as a resource to instruct both beginning and advanced observers on how to begin participating with Exoplanet Watch, primarily through the observation of exoplanets.
    • As a brief overview, this document will cover the basic ideas and processes behind exoplanet Photometry, walk through the required equipment as well as recommended observing systems, detail the data acquisition process as well as potential pitfalls and issues one may encounter, and finally the data reduction process in which your observations are turned into identifiable light curves of the planet observed.
  • A Practical Guide to Exoplanet Observing
    • Observing exoplanets may take some practice but anyone can do it! Here’s an introduction to observing an exoplanet with your own telescope.
    • This guide by Dennis Conti gives you a great look into ‘best practices’ when observing exoplanets.

If you do not have your own telescope (or if it is light polluted or cloudy where you live)

MicroObservatory robotic telescope

While Exoplanet Watch is initially focused on working with amateur astronomers and citizen scientists who have access to a telescope and astronomy camera, we intend to eventually make resources available for those who do not have their own observing equipment. Below, we list some resources that are currently, or will soon be, available for observing.


What to Observe

You are welcome to observe any transiting exoplanet. We also identify priority targets every day for each US timezone. These targets are likely to be observed in the future by large telescopes, but have relatively large uncertainty in their timing and therefore require follow-up by Exoplanet Watch participants.

Regardless of the target you choose to observe, we recommend that you check that it is visible from your exact location using either the NASA Exoplanet Archive's Transit and Ephemeris Service or Swarthmore's Transit Finder.

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