Detecting and Characterizing Exomoons and Exorings
Since the discovery of a planet transiting its host star in the year 2000, thousands of additional exoplanets and exoplanet candidates have been detected, mostly by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Some of them are almost as small as the Earth’s moon. As the solar system is teeming with moons, more than a hundred of which are in orbit around the eight local planets, and with all of the local giant planets showing complex ring systems, astronomers have naturally started to search for moons and rings around exoplanets in the past few years. We here discuss the principles of the observational methods that have been proposed to find moons and rings beyond the solar system, and we review the first searches. Though no exomoon or exoring has been unequivocally validated so far, theoretical and technological requirements are now on the verge of being mature for such discoveries.
- Cameron AGW, Ward WR (1976) The origin of the Moon. In: Lunar and planetary science conference, Houston, vol 7Google Scholar
- Kipping DM (2011) LUNA: an algorithm for generating dynamic planet-moon transits. MNRAS 416:689–709. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19086.x, 1105.3499
- Kipping DM, Fossey SJ, Campanella G (2009) On the detectability of habitable exomoons with Kepler-class photometry. MNRAS 400:398–405. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15472.x, 0907.3909
- Mamajek EE, Quillen AC, Pecaut MJ et al (2012) Planetary construction zones in occultation: discovery of an extrasolar ring system transiting a young sun-like star and future prospects for detecting eclipses by circumsecondary and circumplanetary disks. AJ 143:72. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/143/3/72, 1108.4070ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Montalto M, Gregorio J, Boué G et al (2012) A new analysis of the WASP-3 system: no evidence for an additional companion. Mon Not R Astron Soc 427(4):2757–2771. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21926.x, http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/427/4/2757.abstract, http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/427/4/2757.full.pdf+htmlADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Simon AE, Szabó GM, Szatmáry K, Kiss LL (2010) Methods for exomoon characterization: combining transit photometry and the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. MNRAS 406:2038–2046. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16818.x