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“Solar System Moons as Analogs for Compact Exoplanetary Systems”

Stephen Kane (San Francisco State University)
Wednesday, 1410, Lecture Room 106

The field of exoplanetary science has experienced a recent surge of new systems that is largely due to the precision photometryprovided by the Kepler mission. Discoveries have included compact planetary systems in which the orbits of the planets all lie relatively close to the host star, which presents interesting challenges in terms of formation and dynamical evolution. The compact exoplanetary systems are analogous to the moons orbiting the giant planets in our Solar System, in terms of their relative sizes and semi-major axes. In this talk I will present a study that quantifies the scaled sizes and separations of the Solar System moons with respect to their hosts, along with a similar study for a large sample of confirmed Kepler planets in multi-planet systems. The results of this study show that a comparison between the two samples leads to a similar correlation between their scaled sizes and separation distributions. The different gradients of the correlations may be indicative of differences in the formation and/or long-term dynamics of moon and planetary systems.