NEXT GENERATION OF TELESCOPES OR DYNAMICS REQUIRED TO DETERMINE IF EXO-MOONS HAVE PROGRADE OR RETROGRADE ORBITS
Astrophysical Journal Letters
We survey the methods proposed in the literature for detecting moons of extrasolar planets in terms of their ability to distinguish between prograde and retrograde moon orbits, an important tracer of moon formation channel. We find that most moon detection methods, in particular, sensitive methods for detecting moons of transiting planets, cannot observationally distinguishing prograde and retrograde moon orbits. The prograde and retrograde cases can only be distinguished where dynamical
... on of the orbit due to e.g. three body effects is detectable, where one of the two cases is dynamically unstable or where new observational facilities which can implement a technique capable of differentiating the two cases, come on line. In particular, directly imaged planets are promising targets as repeated spectral and photometric measurements, required to determine moon orbit direction, could also be conducted with the primary interest of characterising the planet itself.