Exomoons: When Parent-Planets Go Their Separate Ways


Young restless planets like to roam through their solar system – they usually destroy their environment with their reckless disasters, moving erratically around their stars. Such planetary migration occurs when a planet interacts with a disk of gas and dust revolving around their star hosts, or with primary planetary building blocks called planetszimali. But what happens to orbiting moons when their young parent planets diverge? Exolunas are natural satellites of exoplanets or other non-stellar extrasolar bodies, and they are often distorted because it is believed that planet migration is commonplace as young solar systems are just beginning to strengthen. In March 2018, astronomers announced that their new study shows that collisions with the worst-type migratory planets could have a significant impact on the satellites of giant exoplanets and that they could spawn a large population of orphaned free-floating exoluds that don’t come back. mother planet.

Indeed, empirical studies of the many moons that inhabit our solar system show that satellites are probably ordinary inhabitants of planetary systems belonging to stars outside our Sun. Most of the exoplanets discovered at the moment are giant planets, such as a quartet of colossal outer planets in our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Indeed, in the four gigantic external gas worlds of our solar family, there are large families consisting mainly of icy moons dancing around them in an exciting and sparkling ballet. For this reason, it is reasonable to assume that exoluns are just as common in the families of other stars.

While exoluns are very weak and difficult to find, making it difficult to confirm them using modern methods, observations from missions such as NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which explores the planet, have revealed some intriguing candidates. Some of these exolunia could potentially be habitats for alien life, and one of them may even be an orphaned outing warrior.

During the scattering process, all exomones orbiting giant planets can be transferred to unstable orbits as a result of tragic collisions with giant planets. Exoluns can also be shaken if the traits or orbits of their parent stars change due to their family of young migrating and raging planets.

A team of astronomers led by Dr. Yu-Cian Hong of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studied the fate of exomons in situations of scattering from planet to planet, using a series of numerical simulations for N bodies.

Many moons, migrating planets and their star systems

Moons are available in a wide range of different sizes, shapes and types. Although the moons are usually very small, solid, airless worlds, it is known that some of them have an atmosphere. In our solar system, for example, Saturn’s large moon, Titan, is shrouded in a dense atmosphere of orange hydrocarbons, so dense that it hides the surface of this lunar world, visited by ghosts.

Most of the moons inhabiting our solar system are formed from ancient rotating accretion disks that surrounded young planets when our Sun was still in bright youth – about 4.5 billion years ago. At least 150 moons orbit the planets of our solar system, but probably many of them are still waiting to be confirmed.

For a generation, astronomers have known that our solar system is far from unique. In fact, there are billions of planets orbiting stars far beyond our Sun. Some of these distant alien planets may well have alien moons – just like most planets orbiting our star. These distant lunar worlds, which form around distant exoplanets, sing frightening siren songs for the astronomers who haunt them.

In low-mass red dwarfs – about 80 times the mass of the striped colossus of our solar system, the gas giant Jupiter – the core temperature is high enough to melt hydrogen into helium. The ability to turn hydrogen into helium separates real stars from stellar “losers” called brown dwarfs, who do not have enough mass to accomplish this feat. The luminosity of small “real” red dwarfs is less than one thousandth luminosity of our Sun.

As of March 8, 2018, there were 3,743 confirmed exoplanets living in 2,796 systems, of which 625 systems host more than one planet. Assuming there are 200 billion stars in our Milky Way, we can further estimate that there are up to 11 billion habitable planets in our Milky Way – up to 40 billion, if red dwarfs are also taken into account.

Are we alone? The current scientific search for life elsewhere in the Cosmos may finally provide an answer to this profound question. Some distant exoluns belonging to distant star planets can be precious abode of life.

Protoplanetary accretion discs around young stars have a lifespan of several million years. If planets with a mass of about one or more Earth masses are formed when gas is still present, planets can exchange angular moment with gas surrounding the protoplanetary accretion disk. When this happens, the orbits of the planets gradually change. Although the migration direction is usually internal for locally isothermic discs, sometimes external migration can occur for discs with entropy gradients.

Planets close to their stars in circular orbits usually stop spinning and therefore block tides. This means that the planets close up show their rotating star masters only one face. As the planet’s rotational speed decreases, the radius of the planet’s synchronous orbit shifts away from the planet. For these worlds, perfectly tied to their host stars, the distance from the planet on which the Moon will rotate in sync around its home planet exceeds what is known as the sphere of planet Hill.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.