Space & Astronomy
First ever exomoon discovered
December 21, 2013 | 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
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