Title: Exploring Giant Planets and Exomoons in the Habitable Zone
Abstract: In a recent study of planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope we determined the occurrence rates of giant planets in the habitable zone (HZ) of their star. We found that while giant planets are less likely to be found in the HZ than terrestrial planets, if each giant planet was host to more than one moon then there could potentially be many more exomoons in the HZ than terrestrial planets. These moons have the potential to maintain habitable conditions beyond that of a lone terrestrial planet of the same size in a similar orbit. We then compiled a proposed exoplanet target list of giant planets in the habitable zone that had the potential to host rocky exomoons and used the radial velocity (RV) fitting tool RadVel to confirm the orbital solution of each system and look for linear trends to determine if there were indications for additional planetary companions in orbit. Highlights of this list will be presented along with an insight into future work in which we are conducting ongoing RV observations of the most promising of these systems.