First Moon Outside Our Solar System (Exomoon) Discovered By Astronomers

Astronomers think they’ve discovered the first “exomoon” – a moon outside of our own solar system

Astronomers have discovered the first moon outside our solar system with the help of Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, orbiting a giant gaseous planet, 8,000 light years away.

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.

The astronomers stated that the 'exomoon, ' which is a natural satellite that orbits an exoplanet or another non-stellar extrasolar body, is located eight thousands of light-years from Earth.

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

Our solar system's moons all are rocky or icy objects.

Scientists have never had enough evidence to confirm that any exoplanet has a moon orbiting it, but that might be about to change. On the other hand, the scientists agreed that another planet in Kepler-1625b's vicinity might also cause such turbulence.

This decrease in dimness is consistent with "a moon trailing the planet like a dog following its owner on a leash", Kipping said. However, the researchers' alloted observation time ended before the planet could complete its transit. They checked about 300 planets for any weirdness that might mean a moon. This makes exomoons much harder to detect than the worlds that they orbit.

In what would quite literally be a colossal first, astronomers may have finally found an exomoon, or a moon orbiting a planet outside of our own solar system.

Teachey added that the moon model "emerges as the best explanation for the data, and it has the added benefit of being a single explanation for both the timing effects and the dimming of the star that we see in the data".

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"It was definitely a shocking moment to see that Hubble light curve, my heart started beating a little faster and I just kept looking at that signature".

The host planet and its moon lie within the habitable zone of the star Kepler 1625 where moderate temperatures allow for the existence of liquid water on solid surfaces.

The moon is estimated to be only 1.5 per cent the mass of its companion planet, which itself estimated to be several times the mass of Jupiter.

The celestial object has a diameter of about 49,000 km, more than nine times the size of Jupiter's Ganymede, which is the largest moon in the solar system.

Although the object itself can not be seen, there are hints it exists, according to the researchers: The planet moves around its star in a way that indicates something else is pulling on it gravitationally, probably a moon.

"If confirmed, Kepler-1625b-i will certainly provide an interesting puzzle for theorists to solve", said Kipping.

The exoplanet was originally found by the transit technique, in which a planet passing in front of its host star, along our line of sight, causes the star's brightness to dim slightly (by around 1% for a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a sun-sized star) once every orbit.

The space observatory, Kepler has confirmed more than 2600 planets, outside the solar system as of now. During this event, using the Hubble telescope it was measured the systems, like Kepler, it spotted patterns pointing to an exomoon.

"This intriguing finding shows how NASA's missions work together to uncover incredible mysteries in our cosmos", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Amateur Astronomers, Inc.

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