Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Detecting Exomoons

On the detection of Exomoons


Hippke et al


Despite the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, no exomoons have been detected so far. We test a recently developed method for exomoon search, the "orbital sampling effect" (OSE), using the full exoplanet photometry from the Kepler Space Telescope. The OSE is applied to phase-folded transits, for which we present a framework to detect false positives, and discuss four candidates which pass several of our tests. Using numerical simulations, we inject exomoon signals into real Kepler data and retrieve them, showing that under favorable conditions, exomoons can be found with Kepler and the OSE method. In addition, we super-stack a large sample of Kepler planets to search for the average exomoon OSE and the accompanying increase in noise, the "scatter peak". We find significant exomoon presence for planets with 35d less than P less than 80d, with an average dip per planet of 6+-2ppm, about the radius of Ganymede.

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