Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons

René Heller, Darren Williams, David Kipping, Mary Anne Limbach, Edwin Turner, Richard J. Greenberg, Takanori Sasaki, Émeline Bolmont, Olivier Grasset, Karen Lewis, Rory Barnes, Jorge I. Zuluaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1-0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-835
Number of pages38
JournalAstrobiology
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

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habitability
Planets
natural satellites
Solar System
Moon
planet
lighting
extrasolar planets
gases
Lighting
heat
Heating
solar system
Gases
methodology
Technology
heating
debris
planets
gas

Keywords

  • Astrobiology
  • Extrasolar planets
  • Habitability
  • Planetary science
  • Tides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Heller, R., Williams, D., Kipping, D., Limbach, M. A., Turner, E., Greenberg, R. J., ... Zuluaga, J. I. (2014). Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons. Astrobiology, 14(9), 798-835. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2014.1147

Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons. / Heller, René; Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard J.; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Émeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I.

In: Astrobiology, Vol. 14, No. 9, 01.09.2014, p. 798-835.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Heller, R, Williams, D, Kipping, D, Limbach, MA, Turner, E, Greenberg, RJ, Sasaki, T, Bolmont, É, Grasset, O, Lewis, K, Barnes, R & Zuluaga, JI 2014, 'Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons', Astrobiology, vol. 14, no. 9, pp. 798-835. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2014.1147
Heller R, Williams D, Kipping D, Limbach MA, Turner E, Greenberg RJ et al. Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons. Astrobiology. 2014 Sep 1;14(9):798-835. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2014.1147
Heller, René ; Williams, Darren ; Kipping, David ; Limbach, Mary Anne ; Turner, Edwin ; Greenberg, Richard J. ; Sasaki, Takanori ; Bolmont, Émeline ; Grasset, Olivier ; Lewis, Karen ; Barnes, Rory ; Zuluaga, Jorge I. / Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons. In: Astrobiology. 2014 ; Vol. 14, No. 9. pp. 798-835.
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