The hunt for exomoons with Kepler (HEK). II. Analysis of seven viable satellite-hosting planet candidates

D. M. Kipping, J. Hartman, L. A. Buchhave, A. R. Schmitt, G. Á Bakos, D. Nesvorný

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


From the list of 2321 transiting planet candidates announced by the Kepler Mission, we select seven targets with favorable properties for the capacity to dynamically maintain an exomoon and present a detectable signal. These seven candidates were identified through our automatic target selection (TSA) algorithm and target selection prioritization (TSP) filtering, whereby we excluded systems exhibiting significant time-correlated noise and focused on those with a single transiting planet candidate of radius less than 6 R ⊕. We find no compelling evidence for an exomoon around any of the seven Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) but constrain the satellite-to-planet mass ratios for each. For four of the seven KOIs, we estimate a 95% upper quantile of MS /MP < 0.04, which given the radii of the candidates, likely probes down to sub-Earth masses. We also derive precise transit times and durations for each candidate and find no evidence for dynamical variations in any of the KOIs. With just a few systems analyzed thus far in the ongoing "Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler" (HEK) project, projections on would be premature, but a high frequency of large moons around Super-Earths/Mini-Neptunes would appear to be incommensurable with our results so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • planetary systems
  • stars: individual (KOI-174, KOI-303, KOI-365, KOI-722, KOI-1472, KOI-1857, KOI-1876)
  • techniques: photometric


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