Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

On the feasibility of exomoon detection via exoplanet phase curve spectral contrast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

An exoplanet-exomoon system presents a superposition of phase curves to observers - the dominant component varies according to the planetary period, and the lesser component varies according to both the planetary and the lunar periods. If the spectra of the two bodies differ significantly, then it is likely that there are wavelength regimes where the contrast between the moon and planet is significantly larger. In principle, this effect could be used to isolate periodic oscillations in the combined phase curve. Being able to detect the exomoon component would allow a characterization of the exomoon radius, and potentially some crude atmospheric data. We run a parameter survey of combined exoplanet-exomoon phase curves, which shows that for most sets of planet-moon parameters, the lunar component of the phase curve is undetectable to current state-of-the-art transit observations. Even with future transit survey missions, measuring the exomoon signal will most likely require photometric precision of 10 parts per million or better. The only exception to this is if the moon is strongly tidally heated or in some way self-luminous. In this case, measurements of the phase curve at wavelengths greater than a few μm can be dominated by the lunar contribution. Instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope and its successors are needed to make this method feasible.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numberstx1217
Pages (from-to)416-426
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume470
Issue number1
Early online date17 May 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Planets and satellites: atmospheres, Planets and satellites: detection, Planets and satellites: general

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Can planet formation resolve the dust budget crisis in high-redshift galaxies?

    Forgan, D. H., Rowlands, K., Gomez, H. L., Gomez, E. L., Schofield, S. P., Dunne, L. & Maddox, S. Dec 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 472, 2, p. 2289-2296 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Identifying and analysing protostellar disc fragments in smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations

    Hall, C., Forgan, D. & Rice, K. 21 Sep 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 470, 3, p. 2517-2538 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. On the fragmentation boundary in magnetized self-gravitating discs

    Forgan, D., Price, D. J. & Bonnell, I. Apr 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 466, 3, p. 3406-3416 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Evaluating galactic habitability using high-resolution cosmological simulations of galaxy formation

    Forgan, D., Dayal, P., Cockell, C. & Libeskind, N. Jan 2017 In : International Journal of Astrobiology. 16, 1, p. 60-73 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. A Kepler study of starspot lifetimes with respect to light-curve amplitude and spectral type

    Giles, H. A. C., Collier Cameron, A. & Haywood, R. D. 1 Dec 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 472, 2, p. 1618-1627

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Magnetic activity and radial velocity filtering of young Suns: the weak-line T-Tauri stars Par 1379 and Par 2244

    Hill, C. A., Carmona, A., Donati, J-F., Hussain, G. A. J., Gregory, S. G., Alencar, S. H. P., Bouvier, J. & MaTYSSE collaboration 1 Dec 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 472, 2, p. 1716-1735 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Can planet formation resolve the dust budget crisis in high-redshift galaxies?

    Forgan, D. H., Rowlands, K., Gomez, H. L., Gomez, E. L., Schofield, S. P., Dunne, L. & Maddox, S. Dec 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 472, 2, p. 2289-2296 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. A dearth of small particles in the transiting material around the white dwarf WD 1145+017

    Xu, S. , Rappaport, S. , van Lieshout, R. , Vanderburg, A. , Gary, B. , Hallakoun, N. , Ivanov, V. D. , Wyatt, M. C. , DeVore, J. , Bayliss, D. , Bento, J. , Bieryla, A. , Cameron, A. , Cann, J. M. , Croll, B. , Collins, K. A. , Dalba, P. A. , Debes, J. , Doyle, D. , Dufour, P. & 18 others Ely, J., Espinoza, N., Joner, M. D., Jura, M., Kaye, T., McClain, J. L., Muirhead, P., Palle, E., Panka, P. A., Provencal, J., Randall, S., Rodriguez, J. E., Scarborough, J., Sefako, R., Shporer, A., Strickland, W., Zhou, G. & Zuckerman, B. 24 Nov 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. A clustered origin for isolated massive stars

    Lucas, W. E., Rybak, M., Bonnell, I. A. & Gieles, M. 23 Nov 2017 In : Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Journal)

    Carolin Villforth (Reviewer)
    2011 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Journal)

    Helling, C. (Editor)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  3. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Journal)

    Cameron, A. C. (Editor)
    2005 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  4. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Journal)

    Mackay, D. H. (Editor)
    2003 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

ID: 250562965