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Space & Astronomy

First extrasolar moon potentially discovered

By T.K. Randall
July 28, 2017 · Comment icon 5 comments

Have astronomers really found an extrasolar moon ? Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers believe that they may have found, for the first time, a moon orbiting an extrasolar planet.
While discovering planets around other stars has become increasingly commonplace in recent years, detecting the moons of these distant worlds has proven difficult due to their relatively small size.

Now though, a team of astronomers headed up by Dr David Kipping from Columbia University in New York believe that they may have finally been able to detect one of these moons for the first time.

To locate one, the researchers came up with a shortlist of 284 potential solar systems and then looked for the telltale dip in the light coming from those stars that typically indicates the presence of a planet.
They then took things one step further by looking out for even fainter dips in light occurring either directly before or after the exoplanet itself had passed by.

While the initial results of this technique have revealed what the scientists believe to be a genuine extrasolar moon, it will take quite a bit of additional work to confirm that this is actually the case.

For now at least, the find is being treated as more of a "hint" than an actual, concrete discovery.

Source: Huffington Post | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by UFOwatcher 7 years ago
Interesting but loaded with weasel wording.
Comment icon #2 Posted by BeastieRunner 7 years ago
It must be grant season!
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Not weasel words, just being cautiously optimistic.  I'm sure a fresh grant would help though.
Comment icon #4 Posted by taniwha 7 years ago
I thought they found an exomoon sometime back? Or not?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
This sentence really should have meant something to you:  And maybe this one (emphasis mine): In other words they can't be sure what it is. As such, while it is an exomoon candidate (as the article repeatedly refers to it) it can not yet be considered an exomoon discovery. Since it was observed during a random, unrepeatable event it is highly likely that it's true nature will never be proven. Whilst this new object remains only a candidate for the time being follow up observations can be made so its status as an exomoon should eventually be confirmed/rejected. Even if the object in the articl... [More]

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