Exomoons and other strange transit signals
David Kipping (Columbia University)
January 31, 2019
Abstract: Since astronomers first started detecting exoplanets, interest in possible exomoons soon followed. Moons would provide new windows into the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and could even represent potential habitats for life. By looking for their gravitational influence on a transiting planet, as well as the transits of the moon itself, my team has been surveying Kepler planets for moons for the last few years. I’ll discuss the current observational limits, prospects for the future and the curious moon candidate Kepler-1625b-i. Besides from moons, there is growing interest to look for unusual signatures in light curves. I’ll describe a new algorithm called the Weird Detector suitable for automatically flagging such signals, as well as another project which uses tomography to reconstruct transit silhouettes from the light curve morphology. In the spirit of heading towards ever more exotic ideas, I’ll close by discussing some of the more left-field projects from my group.