Detecting exoplanets moons

In summary, there is a low probability of Earth having a moon like it does, so it is likely important for life to form. Technology has to develop to the point where we can detect planets around different stars with the same moon size as Earth's. This would be an extremely difficult undertaking, and it is possible that it could be done in the future.
  • #1
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how far are we from detecting a moon around an Earth sized planet in another star system?

i read an article recently (http://www.newscientist.com/article...e-sun-and-moon-the-same-size-in-the-sky.html") about how the moon being so close to Earth wasn't, or doesn't appear to be, a very likely event. since there was a low probability of our planet having our moon it seems it was actually important for life to form here in the first place (tides, etc...).

it got me wondering how far technology has to develop in order to find a planet the same size of earth, in the same type of orbit, around an identical star to the sun, with a moon the same size of Earth's on the same type of orbit?

do we need to detect the moon? what comes first, detecting wavelengths of light reflected from the surface of the planet, or detecting a planets wobble due to its moon? if we could detect light from the planets surface would we be able to detect any plant life etc?

what about detecting oxygen in the atmosphere?

i can't think of anything more exciting than detecting these kind of things and am basically wondering how much we will find out, and the likelihood we will find strong evidence of extra terrestrial life, within my lifetime.
 
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  • #2
The types of detection techniques we use today, radial velocity and transit, would not be very good at revealing moons. It will likely take a new technique using new technology.
 
  • #3
888eddy said:
i read an article recently (http://www.newscientist.com/article...e-sun-and-moon-the-same-size-in-the-sky.html") about how the moon being so close to Earth wasn't, or doesn't appear to be, a very likely event. since there was a low probability of our planet having our moon it seems it was actually important for life to form here in the first place (tides, etc...).

it got me wondering how far technology has to develop in order to find a planet the same size of earth, in the same type of orbit, around an identical star to the sun, with a moon the same size of Earth's on the same type of orbit?

It's true that the Earth's satellite situation is quite unique. First, the mass of the moon is very comparable to that of the Earth, and it is in an extremely stable orbit as well. (Coincidentally it covers about the same angle in the sky as the sun, too!).

If you're going to cherry pick planets in order to find one with all the parameters you described, we would need to extend our search radius by orders of magnitude probably before we found one. This alone, let alone detection techniques, would be an extreme technological undertaking.
 
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  • #4
would it be possible to use interferometry to 'see' an exoplanet?
i mean to cancel out the light of the sun i know it would be difficult especally in the visible but is it theoretically possible?
 
  • #5
There are projects in development that will use nulling interferometry to cancel out a star's own light and hopefully be able to image planets directly. This would allow us to analyse the atmospheres of such planets for gasses that indicate signs of life.

See (for example):

http://www.darwin.rl.ac.uk/
 
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  • #6
sweet i hope they can do it :)
and I'm glad it wasn't a silly idea!
 

1. How do scientists detect exoplanet moons?

Scientists use a variety of methods to detect exoplanet moons, including transit photometry, radial velocity, and direct imaging. Transit photometry involves measuring the periodic dimming of a star's light caused by a planet passing in front of it. Radial velocity involves measuring the slight wobble of a star caused by the gravitational pull of a planet and its moons. Direct imaging involves taking pictures of the exoplanet system to directly observe any moons that may be present.

2. What characteristics do scientists look for when searching for exoplanet moons?

Scientists look for characteristics such as size, mass, and distance from the host planet when searching for exoplanet moons. They also look for potential signs of habitability, such as the presence of water or a thin atmosphere.

3. How many exoplanet moons have been detected so far?

As of 2021, scientists have confirmed the existence of over 4,000 exoplanets, but only a handful of these have been found to have moons. This is because detecting exoplanet moons is a challenging task and requires advanced technology.

4. Can exoplanet moons support life?

It is possible that some exoplanet moons could support life, but this has yet to be confirmed. In order for a moon to support life, it would need to have the right conditions, such as a stable atmosphere and a source of liquid water.

5. How does the discovery of exoplanet moons contribute to our understanding of the universe?

The discovery of exoplanet moons provides valuable insights into the diversity and complexity of planetary systems in our universe. By studying these moons, scientists can learn more about the formation and evolution of planets and their potential for hosting life. It also helps us to understand the conditions necessary for a planet to have a stable orbit and retain its moons.

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