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First ever exomoon discovered

Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments

The exomoon is unlike any in our own solar system. Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Astronomers believe that they have discovered the first moon located outside of our own solar system.
Like Pandora in James Cameron's movie "Avatar" or the forest moon of Endor in "Return of the Jedi", astronomers believe they may have identified for the first time a moon orbiting a planet that is itself outside of our solar system.

While exomoons have long been expected to exist, finding one has proven extremely difficult. This new find, located more than 1800 light years away, is made even more unusual by the fact that it seems to be adrift in the depths of space, far from any stars.

The moon is believed to be around half the size of the Earth and orbits a huge planet with four times the mass of Jupiter. It is also orbiting at a distance of 20 million kilometers from the planet, a far greater distance than any of the moons we see in our own solar system.

"It almost begs the question as to whether we can really call these objects 'moons' or whether some other name is more apt," said astronomer David Kipping.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (10)

Tags: Exomoon, Extrasolar Planet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 21 December, 2013, 21:03
Nice. I can only say that I am in no way surprised by the findings.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DieChecker on 22 December, 2013, 4:23
So this is actually a moon around a planet not orbiting a star? Finding the planet must have been hard to begin with. It is not quite a moon, and not quite a planet.... Maybe it is a Manet? Or a Ploon? I think I favor Ploon. Though if it is actually orbitting a Brown Dwarf, doesn't that automatically make it a planet? Or, does a Brown Dwarf not equal a star?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 22 December, 2013, 8:53
They aren't true stars as their is no nuclear fusion at the core. They are a kind of half way house between planets and stars. Using your naming logic they are stanets or plars.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew on 22 December, 2013, 12:54
No silly, I'm from the south; plars are something you keep in yer tool box.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hazzard on 22 December, 2013, 14:12
Being able to detect a moon 1800 LY away,... That is absolutely incredible.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DieChecker on 22 December, 2013, 20:46
Stanets... I like that. When I rule the world I'll implement that.
Comment icon #7 Posted by coolguy on 23 December, 2013, 5:20
Great find iam sure there are lots of moons in space
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 23 December, 2013, 6:01
We are both from the south... just not the same country,
Comment icon #9 Posted by Pretty Obscure on 24 December, 2013, 10:59
It is 5AM and I haven't gone to sleep yet, and I just want you to know that this post made me laugh until I cried.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Sundew on 24 December, 2013, 20:41
At your service! As I have always said, you can't pay for humor like this, nor would you want to......

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