If you think exoplanet detections are only in the realm of professional planet-hunting telescopes such as Kepler, take a look at the video above. David Schneider, a senior editor for IEEE Spectrum, explains that it takes little more than a DSLR camera and a camera lens to catch a glimpse.
Schneider told Universe Today that he’s not an experienced amateur observer, nor should his equipment be expected to detect new exoplanets. But the potential for the future is interesting, he explained.
“I was simply trying to detect the signature of a known exoplanet, one that was discovered years ago with far more sophisticated gear,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I knew exactly which star to look at, when the transit occurs, and what the change in brightness would be. I relied on the expertise of professional astronomers to provide all that information.”
Here’s the setup: a Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR, a 300-millimeter Nikon telephoto lens, an adapter to get the Nikon talking to the Canon, and a self-built “barn door tracker” that he constructed based on descriptions he found on the web. (His IEEE Spectrum article has more details.)