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TU Berlin

Exomoons as Tracers of Exoplanet Formation and Evolution

Earthlike moon scene

Dr. René Heller
(Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung Göttingen)
Freitag/Friday, 2016-04-29 15:00 c.t., Seminarraum EW 431
Eugene-Paul-Wigner Gebäude, Hardenbergstr. 36, 10623 Berlin

While about 4,000 planets and planet candidates have been found outside the solar system, no moon around an exoplanet (or "exomoon") has been found so far. In the solar system, moons serve as records of planet formation, e.g. of the conditions in the accretion disk around the early Jupiter. Exomoon observations could thus provide extremely valuable insights into exoplanet formation and evolution, which are not accessible via exoplanet observations alone. New simulations indicate that moons as massive as planet Mars can form around super-Jovian giant exoplanets, and recent advances in exomoon detection methods suggest that these large moons are observable with current (Kepler) and near-future (CHEOPS, PLATO, E-ELT) technology. Exomoons in the stellar habitable zones could thus be abundant extrasolar habitats.

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