First moon outside our solar system discovered, astronomers think

Scientists Think They've Found the First Moon Outside Our Solar System

Scientists Think They've Found the First Moon Outside Our Solar System

Second, three-and-a-half hours after the transit, a much smaller second transit occurred, which involved a very slight dimming of the star's light. They will use the Hubble Space Telescope for more observations in May 2019 to confirm their finding. The journal's deputy editor, Kip Hodges, praised the researchers for their cautious tone, given the hard and complicated process of identifying an exomoon.

But these extrasolar satellites had lingered at the limits of detection with current techniques.

Still the researchers are trying to claim more data as the discovery requires extraordinary evidence. They believe it's orbiting a gas giant. She says moons are kind of the next frontier when it comes to understanding alien solar systems.

NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes have uncovered what could be the first exomoon.

Researchers have been studying Kepler-1625b as part of their hunt for exomoons and, out of a pool of 284 exoplanets, Kipping and Teachey found that Kepler-1625b was the best candidate.

David Kipping, the study's second author, said, 'We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention'. First, the planet passed in front of the star approximately an hour earlier than predicted.

"If we want to do moon hunting in the future, we will have to look at planets further" than one astronomical unit, or the distance between the sun and Earth, Teachey said.

This artist's impression depicts the exomoon candidate Kepler-1625b-i, the planet it is orbiting and the star in the centre of the star system.

In theory, this could be the result of the gravitational pull from a hypothetical second planet. They found no evidence for exomoons in the vast majority of the systems, but Kepler-1625 showed tantalising signs of the tiny dip in brightness that constitutes an exomoon signature.

Teachey and co-author David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia, published their findings in the journal Science Advances on October 3. "But we knew our job was to keep a level head and essentially assume it was bogus, testing every conceivable way in which the data could be tricking us".

The planet that the potential exomoon orbits, Kepler-1625b, is several times the mass of Jupiter, which means their mass-ratio is similar to that of Earth and its moon.

But that size is why it was easier to find, the researchers said. Scientists have not discovered any moon that large among the 200 natural satellites observed in our solar system.

Astronomers call the moon Kepler-1625b-i. In addition, because they orbit the planet, their own orbit is also constantly shifting. They also shift position with each orbit.

Scientists have never had enough evidence to confirm that any exoplanet has a moon orbiting it, but that might be about to change.

The exomoon is exponentially larger than our solar system's biggest moon.

Even though they lie within their system's habitable zone, both the exoplanet and the exomoon are gaseous and thus unsuitable for life. They are located 8,000 light years from Earth. The moons of Jupiter and Saturn on the other hand coalesced from the debris left behind after the planets formed.

The astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope, which was built by NASA with contributions from the European Space Agency.

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