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Space & Astronomy

Neptune-sized extrasolar moon discovered

October 4, 2018 | Comment icon 2 comments



The newly discovered moon is surprisingly huge. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
Astronomers have found what is thought to be the first confirmed moon in orbit around an extrasolar world.
Situated 8,000 light years away, the newly discovered moon, which is around the size of Neptune, orbits a gas giant known as Kepler-1625b which is itself several times the size of Jupiter.

This makes it exponentially larger than any of the 180 or so moons in our own solar system.

"It's big and weird by solar system standards," said Prof David Kipping of Columbia University.

The new moon was discovered by astronomers who had been analyzing data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope when they noticed some peculiar anomalies around Kepler-1625b.
"We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention," said Dr Kipping.

The discovery was confirmed following further observations using the Hubble Space Telescope.

The hunt is now on to locate other - and hopefully smaller - extrasolar moon candidates.

"You could argue that because larger objects are easier to detect than smaller ones, this is really the lowest-hanging fruit, so it might not be wholly unexpected that the first exomoon detection would be among the largest possible," said study co-author Alex Teachey.

Source: Reuters | Comments (2)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword 4 years ago
Itís big and weird by the standards of our solar system he means. †Just saying.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rolci 4 years ago
Makes me wonder, at what point do they decide to call it a twin (or binary) planet. (They do not necessarily have to have a parent star to orbit around you know.) While they considered Pluto a planet they never classified Charon as one, even though they are on the same scale, both magnitudes smaller than Jupiter, so why call one a planet the other a moon? Because they are not EXACTLY the same size/mass? † So what if you have a twin planet where one is smaller but heavier than the other? Which one will be the planet and which one the moon? Saying all this, our Moon isn't much smaller than the E... [More]


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