Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Exoplanetary moons formed by giant impacts could be detected by Kepler
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Feb 15, 2017

Hydrocode simulation of an impact of a Venus-sized rock/iron planet colliding with a six Earth-mass planet. The collision creates a disk of rock fragments, liquid, and vapor massive enough to create a moon of 0.1 Earth masses, large enough to be detected by Kepler. Colors indicate the density of material, with solids depicted by orange/red hues, and liquid/vapor depicted by green/blue hues. Image courtesy Barr and Bruck Syal (2017). For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Kepler observatory should be able to detect planetary moons - yet to be discovered - formed by far-away planetary collisions outside our solar system, research by Amy Barr of the Planetary Science Institute shows. The Kepler spacecraft has discovered thousands of exoplanets, but has not yet detected definitive signs of moons - exomoons - orbiting them.

A pair of papers authored by Barr describes how exomoons large enough to be detected by Kepler could form. Barr's paper, "Formation of Massive Rocky Exomoons by Giant Impact" appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, looks at the formation of moons via giant impacts around rocky extrasolar planets.

"Our results are the first to demonstrate the masses of the moons that could form in the varied set of impact conditions possible within exoplanetary systems," said Barr, a senior scientist at PSI.

"Most importantly, we have shown that it is possible to form exomoons with masses above the theoretical detection limits of the ongoing Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler survey, moons of more than a tenth of an Earth mass."

This research used hydrodynamical simulations to determine how much material is launched into orbit by the collision of two rocky exoplanets.

Similar simulations have been used to study the origin of Earth's Moon. "These outcomes are broadly similar to the Moon-forming impact, but when two super-earths collide, the disk is much hotter and more massive," said Barr. The simulations were performed in collaboration with Megan Bruck Syal of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

A second paper, "Formation of Exomoons: A Solar System Perspective" appearing in Astronomical Review, describes how large exomoons could form by co-accretion around growing gas giant planets, or by processes that did not operate in our solar system.

In this paper, Barr describes what is known about the formation of planetary moons in our solar system, and how those theories might apply to the formation of exomoons.

"Some of the old theories about the formation of Earth's Moon, for example, fission, could operate in other solar systems," said Barr. "With new observatories coming online soon, this is a good time to revisit some of the old ideas, and see if we might be able to predict how common exomoons might be, and what it would take to detect them."

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Related Links
Planetary Science Institute
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Astronomy team finds more than 100 exoplanet candidates
Santa Cruz CA (SPX) Feb 14, 2017
An international team of astronomers has released the largest ever compilation of exoplanet-detecting observations made using a technique called the radial velocity method. By making the data public, the team is offering unprecedented access to one of the best exoplanet searches in the world. The data were gathered as part of a two-decade planet-hunting program using a spectrometer called ... read more

NASA to develop oxygen recovery technologies for future deep space missions

Art and space enter a new dimension

Russia's first private space tourism craft flight test set for 2020

Next SpaceX mission will deliver slew of experiment payloads to ISS

Airbus Safran Launchers: 77th consecutive successful launch for Ariane 5

SpaceX poised to launch cargo from historic NASA pad

Airbus Safran Launchers: 77th consecutive successful launch for Ariane 5

India puts record 104 satellites into orbit

Opportunity passes 44 kilometers of surface travel after 13 years

Scientists shortlist three landing sites for Mars 2020

Scientists say Mars valley was flooded with water not long ago

ISRO saves its Mars mission spacecraft from eclipse

Chinese cargo spacecraft set for liftoff in April

China looks to Mars, Jupiter exploration

China's first cargo spacecraft to leave factory

China launches commercial rocket mission Kuaizhou-1A

Iridium Announces Target Date for Second Launch of Iridium NEXT

Italy, Russia working closely on Mars exploration, Earth monitoring satellites

NASA seeks partnerships with US companies to advance commercial space technologies

A New Space Paradigm

Most stretchable elastomer for 3-D printing

After 15 years, SABER on TIMED Still Breaks Ground from Space

ANU scientists make new high-tech liquid materials

Curtiss-Wright offers COTS Module for measuring microgravity acceleration

Exoplanetary moons formed by giant impacts could be detected by Kepler

The heart of a far-off star beats for its planet

Astronomy team finds more than 100 exoplanet candidates

Possibility of Silicon-Based Life Grows

NASA receives science report on Europa lander concept

New Horizons Refines Course for Next Flyby

It's Never 'Groundhog Day' at Jupiter

Public to Choose Jupiter Picture Sites for NASA Juno

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement