Y! has an interesting article in which a space.com astromoner explains how to detect planets by their phases (like phases from the moon). Its called the 'fade-in fade-out' technique. Calculations are in the article, but its been "dummed down" into laymans terms. Still an interesting read.
The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out.
Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."