In “Astronomers Search for Moons Circling Distant Exoplanets” author Lee Billings explores the hunt for moons orbiting distant planets—exomoons. The project uses data from the Kepler satellite mission, which (until technical issues sidelined it earlier this year) had been focusing on a single spot in the sky in the hope of catching so-called “transits”—instances when an exoplanet would pass in front of its host star, blocking some of the light. If any moons orbited those planets, they could also be visible in the data. This video animation by Alex Parker, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, shows what a theoretical exomoon would look like.
This article was originally published with the title "What an Exomoon Would Look Like from Earth [Video]"
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Michael Moyer is the editor in charge of physics and space coverage at Scientific American. Previously he spent eight years at Popular Science magazine, where he was the articles editor. He was awarded the 2005 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for his article "Journey to the 10th Dimension," and has appeared on CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox and the Discovery Channel. He studied physics at the University of California at Berkeley and at Columbia University.