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Kepler 1625b Has Neptune-Sized Moon, Astronomers Say | Astronomy

07 October 2018, 05:40 | Ross Houston

First moon outside our solar system discovered, astronomers think

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

A pair of Columbia University astronomers have stumbled upon a possible exomoon. "That demands a higher level of rigor and skepticism than you would normally apply to a run-of-the-mill detection".

Using NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, astronomers have uncovered tantalizing evidence of what could be the first discovery of a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system.

Mr Teachey said he is "urging caution" in interpreting the findings, and that more observations are needed to confirm the existence of the exomoon - which would be named Kepler-1625b-i. No one, however, has ever conclusively found an alien moon. He points out that our moon - the one with the astronaut footprints - does more than just inspire poets.

But Kepler 1625b and its moon are gaseous - not rocky - so such a collision may not lead to the condensation of a satellite.

And when E.T. phones home, there's no reason that home couldn't be a moon.

"Both bodies, however, are considered to be gaseous and therefore unsuitable for life as we know it", Kipping said.

Our own solar system has close to 200 moons.

Two scientists have found evidence that an exoplanet found by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope may have a Neptune-sized moon orbiting it.

Because their transit signals are weaker than those of planets and their positions change as they orbit their parent planets. What popped out was Kepler-1625b.

"We've tried our best to rule out other possibilities".

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In July 2017, researchers started observing Kepler-1625b, an exoplanet orbiting the star Kepler-1625 in the constellation Cygnus.

Future searches will target Jupiter-sized planets that are farther from their star than Earth is from the Sun. The planet appeared to make its transit earlier than expected, suggesting that the gravity of something was tugging on it.

Second, once the planet finished passing by the face of the star, they observed another decrease in brightness about 3.5 hours later, consistent with "a moon trailing the planet like a dog following its owner on a leash", says Kipping in a press release.

"The first exomoon is obviously an extraordinary claim and it requires extraordinary evidence", Teachey said.

Clearly, an exomoon may contribute an additional transit signal of its own, but for an object comparable in size to the Earth's moon, the extra dimming will only amount to around ten parts per million - making it hard to detect.

"Unfortunately, the scheduled Hubble observations ended before the complete transit of the moon could be measured". If they are able to observe a full transit, representative of a "clean moonlike event, then I think we're done", Kipping said.

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. Another explanation for the "wobble" could be the gravitational pull of another planet orbiting Kepler-1625. But until they have more data, this is only speculation, Kipping said. Yeah, these are really, really big objects.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. The main dip in stellar brightness would be the planet itself crossing in front of its star.

In Star Wars VI we first meet the Ewoks living on the Forest Moon of Endor.



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