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An Encouraging Formation Scenario for Icy Moons

21 Nov 2018, 17:53 UTC
An Encouraging Formation Scenario for Icy Moons
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It makes sense that planets in other stellar systems would have moons, but so far it has been difficult to find them. That’s why Kepler-1625b, about 8,000 light years out in the direction of Cygnus, is so interesting. As we noted last month, David Kipping and graduate student Alex Teachey have compiled interesting evidence of a moon around this gas giant, which is itself either close to or within the habitable zone of its star. The massive candidate exomoon is the size of Neptune, and if confirmed, would mark the first exomoon detection in our catalog.
As the examination of Kepler-1625b and its transit timing variations continues, we have new work out of the University of Zürich, ETH Zürich and NCCR PlanetS that adds weight to the assumption that moons around large planets should be ubiquitous. Using computer simulations run at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, a team of researchers led by Judit Szulágyi (University of Zurich and ETH Zurich) has determined that both gas giants and ice giants like Neptune and Uranus will produce moon-bearing circumplanetary disks.

Image: One of the computer simulations on the formation of moons (white bodies) around Neptune (blue sphere). Credit: Judit ...

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