Impossible Moons

  • Published on: 12 April 2020
  • Why haven't we found dozens of exomoons yet? With planets as small as the Moon having been detected by NASA's Kepler Mission, it's fair to wonder why we only know of a single exomoon candidate to date. Despite the lack of moon detections, there are actually hundreds of known planets that wobble around, a tell-tale sign that a moon could be present. Unfortunately, these wobbles can also be caused by other planets and so in a new research appear Prof Kipping and Alex Teachey have re-visited the theory behind exomoons and come up with a new trick to help us discern between the two - impossible moons.

    Presented & Written by Prof David Kipping.

    This video is based on research conducted at the Cool Worlds Lab at Columbia University, New York. You can now support our research program directly here:

    ► Kipping, D. & Teachey, A., 2020, "Impossible moons - Transit timing effects that cannot be due to an exomoon", MNRAS:
    ► Kipping, D., et al., 2015, "The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK): V. A Survey of 41 Planetary Candidates for Exomoons", ApJ 813, 14
    ► Kipping, D., et al. 2009, "On the detectability of habitable exomoons with Kepler-class photometry", MNRAS 400, 398:
    ► Kipping, D., 2009a, "Transit timing effects due to an exomoon", MNRAS 392, 181:
    ► Kipping, D., 2009b, "Transit timing effects due to an exomoon II", MNRAS 396, 1797:

    Video materials & graphics used:
    ► Exoplanet animation by ESO/L.Calçada/M.Kornmesser:
    ► Exoplanet animation by ESO/P. Delorme/Nick Risinger/R. Saito/VVV Consortium:
    ► Exoplanet animation by ESO/M. Kornmesser:
    ► Perijove by NASA/Seán Doran:
    ► Jupiter zoom out by djxatlanta:
    ► Wanderers short film by Erik Wernquist:
    ► Io animations from BBC2 & the Kurdistan Planetarium
    ► Enceladus plume by NASA Cassini/JPL:
    ► Dragonfly animation by NASA/JHU-APL:
    ► Europa clipper by NASA/JPL:
    ► Transit animation by NASA Ames/Dana Berry:
    ► Exoplanet animation by Martin Kornmesser/Luis Calçada:
    ► TTVs animation by NASA Ames/Kepler:
    ► Le Verrier cartoon by l'Ecole polytechnique:
    ► Trappist-1 animation by ESO/L. Calçada/
    ► Field of lights by The Tribune:
    ► K2-18b animation by ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser:
    ► Sun-Earth-Moon animation by phystv:
    ► Supercomputer video from Verge Science/William Poor/Leo Maco:
    ► Kepler Orrey III by NASA/Dan Fabrycky:
    ► Gl581 animation by ESO/L. Calçada:
    ► JWST animation by NASA/Northrop Grumman/Michael McClare
    ► K1625b animation by NASA/ESA/STScI/L. Hustak:

    Movies/TV scenes used:
    ► Avatar (2009)/20th Century Fox
    ► The Martian (2015)/20th Century Fox

    Music used in chronological order:
    ► "Painted Deserts" by Shimmer, licensed through
    ► Cylinder Five ( by Chris Zabriskie (; licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
    ► "Ticking" by Alternate Endings, licensed through
    ► Music from Neptune Flux, "We Were Never Meant to Live Here" by Chris Zabriskie (; licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
    ► "Waking Up" by Atlas, licensed through
    ► "Fusion" by Indive, Halo Drive EP, (; licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

    And also...
    ► Columbia University Department of Astronomy:
    ► Cool Worlds Lab website:

    SUBSCRIBE here:


    #Exomoons #ImpossibleMoons #CoolWorlds
  • Runtime : 18:15
  • Exomoons Exoplanets Extrasolar moons alien moons alien worlds kepler moons kepler planets transit timing TTVs TDVs transit timing variations astronomy research exomoon discoveries exomoon research impossible moons impossible exomoons cool worlds channel professor kipping david kipping


  • John Manderson
    John Manderson   1 weeks ago

    Fantastic video ! But bad haircut 💇🏻‍♂️ 😉

  • Rick Rhone
    Rick Rhone   2 weeks ago

    is david kipping related to vaatividya

  • mm ss
    mm ss   3 weeks ago

    you find an exomoon orbiting rocky planet, you will likely discover the first sister Earth. keep pushing.

  • Tyler Slagel
    Tyler Slagel   3 weeks ago

    Does this method account for moons that are not orbiting at the edge of their planet’s Hill Sphere?

  • J man J
    J man J   4 weeks ago

    Wow. That's pretty cool

  • Mario Valdez
    Mario Valdez   1 months ago

    Prof. Kipping, I have enjoyed your videos for quite some time and this video was inspiring for me. The fact that you took responsibility for a "Failure" but I don't believe your team did. Edison once said, "Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophy." Congratulations on your finding of the theoretical exo-moon

  • Marco Rozo
    Marco Rozo   1 months ago

    His voice is like it's made for giving people chill while talking about science stuff

  • Dr. James Olack
    Dr. James Olack   3 months ago

    “Infinite diversity in infinite combinations” 🖖

  • T N
    T N   4 months ago

    They need yes they do need a perfect moon yes so much so we get to see a perfect eclipse and a great orbit as well as perfect tides twice a day moving the oceans along coast lines all on rhe earth giving them nutrients and o2. And life follows the movement of the moon full moons for life. Right its the moon or the earth compliament each other and rhere is little wobble and again we have a stable system for life to continue for 4billion yrs and are moon came from earth early the science says

  • KK Design Services
    KK Design Services   4 months ago

    If Kipping is a planet, I think there is a kitty moon orbiting him. 9:01

  • Rahul Saxena
    Rahul Saxena   5 months ago

    This might be a stupid question... but if a planet has multiple moons, like our own Jupiter or Saturn, how does TTV and TDV affects the planets motion?

  • Socky Noob
    Socky Noob   5 months ago

    This is amazing. You're literally changing the game up massively. And we get to see it on YouTube. It makes it far more understandable and personal.

  • Viktor Vermeer
    Viktor Vermeer   6 months ago

    I saw your other video on exomoons as well. I think a problem you are running into is branding this research as exomoon hunting. This departmentalizes any finding you find (just because something is not an exomoon doesn't make it any less interesting). I would brand this more as sifting though the Kepler data (it would give you more funding as well)

  • Dennis Wright
    Dennis Wright   6 months ago

    This channel is amazing the best content and the presentation is the best I’ve seen keep up the amazing work 👍

  • Wsclater Strang Haldane

    If you want to be taken seriously, you should speed up your rate of speech and forget the mannered emphases and pauses in the narration. This theatrical stylistic presentation cannot disguise the nonsense of imagination masquerading as scientific observation.

  • P5ychoFox
    P5ychoFox   7 months ago

    I wonder if in this data caught moons in transit but where the parent planet passed above or below the star’s disc. A lone moon transit. It would repeat but be different each time date to the moon’s orbit?

  • sayan sana
    sayan sana   7 months ago

    The lethal station intialy bake because blue connoly deceive modulo a rambunctious brass. sincere, recondite hydrofoil

  • Christian O. Holz
    Christian O. Holz   7 months ago

    I love this applied deductive reasoning approach to solving large complex problems like this. Very cool!

  • Regenerative Technology

    Having watched a couple of the videos and not really knowing what I'm talking about... still wondering why, for systems whose exoplanets have now been relatively well-tracked and studied, could you not calculate what effect (in TTV) they would have on the planets you're studying for exomoons, factor for it, and any remaining variation is an exomoon candidate?

  • RealityPoet
    RealityPoet   7 months ago

    Would the kind of simulations you're running on supercomputers lend themselves to using distributed computing instead? For example each task contains just a few of the possible planet/moon system arrangements? I'd definitely sign up via BOINC if you had a module available; and I bet many of this channels followers would too.

  • Thomas
    Thomas   8 months ago

    Too attractive, can't focus.

  • Akswan 1331
    Akswan 1331   9 months ago

    So you are a professor ,a....Kipping ,never heard before ,ok.

  • HealingChurchPotluck
    HealingChurchPotluck   9 months ago

    Gee I wonder why they picked this guy to do these videos ...(It's the soothing voice)

  • Anthony Lopresti
    Anthony Lopresti   10 months ago

    Prof Kipping, I’ve been subscribed to your channel quite a while, and I have to say, Idk how many people are involved in making your videos here, but being a student of astronomy and physics I fully appreciate everything you are doing it seems like you put so much work into these videos and I must say, I’ve learned so much from them.. Thank u for all the hard work and please keep the videos coming!🪐🌍🔥🔥🔥

  • Paws Pawlisko
    Paws Pawlisko   10 months ago


  • Johnny B Good
    Johnny B Good   10 months ago

    Suns Planets Moons!! Seems to be a pattern!!

  • Saedris
    Saedris   10 months ago

    3:51 OH no there invading science now, darn twitch streamers.

  • Skin Is delicious
    Skin Is delicious   10 months ago

    I dont know how i found you but im glad i did. You certainly provide a great deal to think about

    BRIANMORAN   10 months ago

    Is it possible to observe an exoplanet transit a more distant star than its own star?

  • Denny Smith
    Denny Smith   10 months ago

    The logic of excluding beyond-the-pale transgressors is curious at first, then oddly beguiling, then eventually obvious; finally, that logic is a leap of grace into inevitability. Hearing how this refinement of the data unfolded was very satisfying. It reminds me of my favorite professor of music theory and how he explained the generative intelligence and ineffable skill of Mozart and Beethoven. The muscular shock and implausibility of their modulations and melodies were transformed, Prof. Onderdonk said, the very second the sound waves landed on listeners eardrums, because the confident perfection of their judgment bestowed inevitability on the new. That is so accurate, and can just as fairly be applied to the “alarming” excellence of Thucydides, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Humboldt and Ramon Y Cajal. Great advances are made possible by intentionally disallowing the inaccurate and the inauthentic. And imagination of judgment, powered by passion for the facts, is exactly how new exomoons will be verified—and win the same elegance of inevitability!