One of the primary surprises of exoplanet detections has been the discovery of compact planetary systems, whereby numerous planets reside within ̃0.5 au of the host star. Many of these kinds of systems have been discovered in recent years, indicating that they are a fairly common orbital architecture. Of particular interest are those systems for which the host star is low mass, thus potentially enabling one or more of the planets to lie within the habitable zone of the host star. One of the contributors to the habitability of the Earth is the presence of a substantial moon whose tidal effects can stabilize axial tilt variations and increase the rate of tidal pool formation. Here, we explore the constraints on the presence of moons for planets in compact systems based on Hill radii and Roche limit considerations. We apply these constraints to the TRAPPIST-1 system and demonstrate that most of the planets are very likely to be worlds without moons.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- April 2017
- planetary systems;
- stars: individual: TRAPPIST-1;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 5 pages, 2 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ Letters