Astronomers Find First Alien Moon: Its Big And Gaseous

Astronomers may have discovered the first exomoon

Astronomers are convinced that found the first known analogue of the Month outside of our Solar system, which orbits around the giant planet, over 8 thousand light-years from Earth.

Researchers analysed data from 284 Kepler-discovered planets that were comparatively in wider orbits, with periods greater than 30 days, around their host star. Kepler is best equipped to find planets that orbit close to their stars, and analyses of orbital dynamics - not to mention the evidence in our own solar system - suggest that moons will be more common further out.

Given the conditions that both the planet and its potential moon are gas giants, it can not be said that this planet might support life. If it is verified to be the first moon discovered outside of our Solar System.

Lead author Alex Teachey and his co-author, Professor David Kipping, observed Kepler-1625b while it was in transit, passing in front of its parent star, Kepler-1625.

Both the huge moon and its even larger planet (several times the size of Jupiter) lie within the star's habitable zone - meaning life could flourish there.

"An extraterrestrial civilization watching the Earth and Moon transit the Sun would note similar anomalies in the timing of Earth's transit", Kipping said. After it ended, Hubble detected a second and much smaller decrease in the star's brightness 3.5 hours later, consistent with "a moon trailing the planet like a dog following its owner on a leash".

Teachey and Kipping relied on the "transit" method, which is already used by researchers to discover almost 4,000 planets outside our solar system, called exoplanets.

But now, a combination of old data collected by the Kepler Space Telescope and observations using the Hubble Space Telescope may have revealed the first evidence for an "exomoon", a moon orbiting an exoplanet.

"We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention", Kipping stated.

The pair of scientists were able to use their observations to secure 40 hours time on the Hubble space telescope.

"The first exomoon is obviously an extraordinary claim and it requires extraordinary evidence", Teachey told reporters in a teleconference organized by the journal that published the findings.

An artist's impression of the exoplanet Kepler-1625b, transiting the star, with the newly discovered exomoon in tow is shown in this image released on October 2, 2018. This shift in the planet's predicted transit was also picked up by Hubble, adding more weight to the theory that an exomoon was behind the changes.

Another planet could cause the same gravitational nudge, the researchers noted, although Kepler observations have come up empty in that regard. Kepler-1625b stood out.

According to The Guardian, the so-called "eczema" has a size that is approximately equal to Neptune, writes UNIAN. "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 Earth-moon system formed as a result of a giant impact in the early solar system. Of the eight planets, only mercury and Venus they are not. Once the James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2021, the search for exomoons may be full of possibilities.

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