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Formation of Planetary Moons and the Hunt for Exomoons

Monday, March 30, 2015
Amy Barr

Moons are natural by-products of terrestrial and giant planet formation.  With the wealth of planets discovered by the Kepler mission, the race is on to find the first exomoon and deduce what the size, composition, and orbit of that moon might tell us about planet formation in other systems.  In this talk I will discuss the methods of satellite formation proposed to operate in our solar system, including fission, co-accretion, giant impact, and capture; and where these modes of formation might operate in extrasolar planetary systems. I will discuss the types of satellite systems we have in our solar system and whether those are likely to occur elsewhere. I will also discuss conditions prevalent on the current “front-runners” for habitable giant planet moons in our solar system including Europa, Enceladus, and Titan.

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