Our Mission

The discovery & characterization of exoplanets

A Canadian space mission

Our team will be launching Photometric Observations of Exoplanet Transits (POET), a 20-cm space telescope feeding an efficient photometer to detect and characterize new, potentially habitable, rocky planets.

How can our micro satellite detect an extrasolar planet?

A simulated encounter

It's March 23, 2027.
128 days after launch.

Stage One

Photometric Observations of Exoplanet Transits is detecting light

400 kilometers from planet Earth, Photometric Observations of Exoplanet Transits (POET) is in orbit. For the past 7 days, a regular beam of light, emitted by a far Sun-like star, has been detected by it’s photometer. POET is staring at the light, recording every particle.
Stage Two

The observed light begins to dim

Day 7, 12th hour of observation: the observed light begins to dim. Within minutes, the brightness fades. The cause? A distant spherical object.
Stage Three

Only meager particles of light are now detected

The object seems to be crossing in front of the star, therefore casting a shadow on the satellite. As the object moves farther from the edges of the star and closer to its middle point, the shadow increases. The shadow is now casting POET’s lenses in a state of near-total darkness. Only meager particles of light are now detected by the photometer.
Stage Four

The light slowly re-emerges

As the shadow fades and light comes into view, the spherical object vanishes, reaching the edge of the Sun-like star, only to disappear behind it as the object’s orbit continues.

Has POET just discovered... an exoplanet?

Could this spherical object be a distant-planet transiting across it’s parent star?

If so, a year on this far exoplanet surely is shorter than a year on Earth. In only 8 days of observations, POET has recorded the planet’s full orbit.

Questions arise...

How large could this exoplanet be?

Does the planet have an atmosphere?

If so, what's it's composition?

Is its composition similar to Earth's atmosphere?

If so, can it sustain life?

How many exoplanets
are out there?

How can a space satellite answer these questions?

In this video, principal investigator Dr. Jason Rowe introduces the project and discusses some of the methods he and his team will be using to send POET into space, on a mission to learn more about exoplanets!

Want to see more from the team?

Visit our Youtube channel

This mission will bring us closer to solving some of the fundamental questions we hold regarding life beyond Earth.

As POET's discovery mission begins, many of these questions will hopefully be answered. Want to keep learning?

Discover more about
Exoplanet Science