Columbia leads JWST search for exomoons

March 12, 2024

JWST will conduct its first search for exomoons in October 2024, led by Columbia graduate student Ben Cassese and his advisor David Kipping. The observations will monitor the transiting Jupiter-like exoplanet Kepler-167e for over two days continuously, seeking the tiny additional dips in starlight expected as a moon system transits as well. JWST is the first telescope sensitive to Jupiter-like moons, and should even be able to measure the oblateness (how non-spheroidal) the giant planet is. These observations will greatly inform our moons form and evolve elsewhere in the cosmos.