Possible discovery of exomoon excites astronomers, but what is it?

Astronomers may have discovered the first exomoon

The new discovery of astronomers is called "exomoon" was found from Nasa's Kepler spacecraft data and observed using the Hubble telescope and it is described as the size of Neptune and orbits a planet the size of Jupiter but with 10 times the mass.

The exomoon candidate has been officially called Kepler-1625b-i, but its discoverers have nicknamed it the "Nept-moon", since it's predicted to be the size of Neptune.

Although the moons in our solar system are rocky or icy objects, the newly discovered exomoon and the planet it orbits, are both gaseous, which is an unexpected pairing.

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.

"This would be the first case of detecting a moon outside our solar system", said David Kipping, Assistant Professor at the Columbia University in NY.

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.

"This is a delightful reminder of how little we know about distant planetary systems and how great the spirit of discovery, which embodies exoplanetary science", said one of the study's authors Alex Tichy. The new alien moon is roughly the size of Neptune, which has a diameter four times larger than Earth's and is 17 times as massive. This value is close to the mass-ratio between the Earth and its moon.

After the transit ended, Hubble detected a second and much smaller decrease in the star's brightness approximately 3.5 hours later, consistent with the effect of a moon trailing the planet.

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Scientists are convinced that have received the exact proof of the existence of the moon orbiting the exoplanet Kepler-1625b. Second, the transit time of Kepler-1625b happened earlier than expected, which may have been caused by an exomoon that makes the exoplanet wobble, similar to what the moon does to the Earth.

Various attempts have been made previously to confirm or deny that there is a moon outside our solar system.

"We noticed a certain refractive index, and deviations in the light curve that caught our attention", explained Kipping.

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

According to the researchers, another compelling piece of evidence in favour of a moon is that the planet passed in front of its star more than an hour earlier than predicted. However, the observation period ended before aktolun has completed its turnover. Of the eight planets, only mercury and Venus they are not.

This is in fact a second method used to detect exoplanets, and help find planets that have a large mass (not necessarily size).

Although the planet and its possible moon are within the habitable zone of their star, both are considered to be gas giants and "unsuitable for life as we know it", Kipping said.

To gather more precise data on the unusual system the researchers monitored in October 2017, during Kepler 1625b's next transit for 40 hours. On the other hand, the scientists agreed that another planet in Kepler-1625b's vicinity might also cause such turbulence. "But moving forward, I think we open the door to search for such worlds", said Teachey.

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