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Abstract: The search for life outside of the Solar System should not be restricted toexclusively planetary bodies; large moons of extrasolar planets may also becommon habitable environments throughout the Galaxy. Extrasolar moons, orexomoons, may be detected through transit timing effects induced onto the hostplanet as a result of mutual gravitational interaction. In particular, transittiming variations TTV and transit duration variations TDV are predicted toproduce a unique exomoon signature, which is not only easily distinguished fromother gravitational perturbations, but also provides both the period and massof an exomoon. Using these timing effects, photometry greater or equal to thatof the Kepler Mission is readily able to detect habitable-zone exomoons down to0.2 Earth masses and could survey up to 25,000 stars for 1 Earth-masssatellites. We discuss future possibilities for spectral retrieval of suchbodies and show that transmission spectroscopy with JWST should be able todetect molecular species with ~30 transit events, in the best cases.

Author: David M. Kipping, Stephen J. Fossey, Giammarco Campanella, Jean Schneider, Giovanna Tinetti



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