Scientists May Have Found The First Exomoon

Over the last couple of decades we’ve spotted thousands of planets outside ofMore

ESA Hubble Space Telescope and older data from the Kepler Space Telescope two astronomers have found the first compelling evidence for a moon outside our own Solar System.

All these data tichi and Kipping fairly confidently attributed to the presence of ecolony, dubbed Kepler 1625b i, or "Napoloni" (Neptmoon): dimensions of the satellite is ten times higher than the entire planet and is comparable to the size of Neptune.

A candidate exomoon refers to a moon orbiting planets in other star systems.

Since researchers first began detecting exoplanets, or worlds orbiting stars other than our Sun, in the early 1990s, we've gone on to catalogue nearly 3,800 alien planets, with thousands more sightings waiting for confirmation. Teachey, a third-year graduate student at Columbia University in NY, was first author of the research announcing the potential moon. Because it's a gaseous moon circling a gas giant, it's possible-but unlikely-that it was formed like our moon when a cosmic collision broke a chunk off its host planet.

Such gargantuan moons do not exist in our own solar system, where almost 200 natural satellites have been catalogued, said researchers from the Columbia University in the US.

Teachey and co-author David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia, published their findings in the journal Science Advances on October 3. The exomoon is estimated to be roughly the size of Neptune, the smallest of our solar system's four gas planets, with a diameter of about 30,600 miles (49,000 km). The planet goes around the yellow parent star every 287 days at the same distance as the Earth orbits the sun.

Kepler-1625B and its moon appear to have a similar ratio to Earth and the Moon but both are much larger. About 3.5 hours later, the telescope detected a decrease in the star's brightness, which indicated that the exomoon likely passed by.

To spot exoplanets, astronomers look at their host stars, and wait for a planet to pass between the starlight and observers on Earth. After combing through it, they focussed on the exoplanet Kepler-1625b, about 4,000 light years away from earth. This is consistent with a model of the system in which the planet and its moon orbit a common centre of gravity, causing the planet to wobble away from its predicted location.

Still the researchers are trying to claim more data as the discovery requires extraordinary evidence.

"You do sometimes form moons that big through the coalescing of disk material", Kipping said.

"We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention", Kipping said in a news release.

The evidence was published in Science, where the authors said: 'We find evidence in favor of the moon hypothesis, based on timing deviations and a flux decrement from the star consistent with a large transiting exomoon.

The researchers monitored Kepler 1625b before and during its 19-hour-long transit across the face of the star. However, both bodies are considered to be gaseous and, therefore, unsuitable for life as we know it.

Exomoons are hard to find because they are smaller than their companion planet and so their transit signal is weak. In this search, the Neptune-sized moon would have been among the easiest to detect because of its large size, scientists said. The problem is only large planets that orbit close to stars are detectable, and those types of planets typically don't have moons.



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