Saturday, December 13, 2008

Planets could reveal Earth-like Moons

ScienceDaily (2008-12-13)

Moons outside our Solar System with the potential to support life have just become much easier to detect, thanks to research by an astronomer at University College London (UCL).

David Kipping has found that such moons can be revealed by looking at wobbles in the velocity of the planets they orbit. His calculations, which appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society December 11, not only allow us to confirm if a planet has a satellite but to calculate its mass and distance from its host planet – factors that determine the likely habitability of a moon.

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