The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK). V. A Survey of 41 Planetary Candidates for Exomoons

Kipping, D. M. and Schmitt, A. R. and Huang, X. ORCID: and Torres, G. and Nesvorny, D. and Buchhave, L. A. and Hartman, J. and Bakos, G. A. (2015) The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK). V. A Survey of 41 Planetary Candidates for Exomoons. The Astrophysical Journal, 813 (1):14. pp. 1-17. ISSN 1538-4357

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We present a survey of 41 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) for exomoons using Bayesian photodynamics, more than tripling the number of KOIs surveyed with this technique. We find no compelling evidence for exomoons although 13 KOIs yield spurious detections driven by instrumental artifacts, stellar activity, and/or perturbations from unseen bodies. Regarding the latter, we find seven KOIs exhibiting >5 σ evidence of transit timing variations, including the 'mega-Earth' Kepler-10c, likely indicating an additional planet in that system. We exploit the moderately large sample of 57 unique KOIs surveyed to date to infer several useful statistics. For example, although there is a diverse range in sensitivities, we find that we are sensitive to Pluto-Charon mass-ratio systems for ≃40% of KOIs studied and Earth-Moon mass-ratios for 1 in 8 cases. In terms of absolute mass, our limits probe down to 1.7 Ganymede masses, with a sensitivity to Earth-mass moons for 1 in 3 cases studied and to the smallest moons capable of sustaining an Earth-like atmosphere (0.3 M⊕) for 1 in 4. Despite the lack of positive detections to date, we caution against drawing conclusions yet, since our most interesting objects remain under analysis. Finally, we point out that had we searched for the photometric transit signals of exomoons alone, rather than using photodynamics, we estimate that 1 in 4 KOIs would have erroneously been concluded to harbor exomoons due to residual time correlated noise in the Kepler data, posing a serious problem for alternative methods.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 01:42
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2022 01:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: planetary systems; techniques: photometric; Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Fields of Research (2020): 51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5101 Astronomical sciences > 510109 Stellar astronomy and planetary systems
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