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Astronomers discover first exomoon

RATE THIS! +23
Posted in Science on 22nd Dec, 2013 05:08 AM by AlexMuller

NASA’s Kepler mission did a great deal in discovering exoplanets, or planets existing outside of our solar system. To date, the mission has confirmed 167 planets. However, shouldn’t some of these planets also have moons? The answer, of course, is yes, but until now, we haven’t had any sightings of these exomoons.

 

Now, scientists from the University of Notre Dame believe they have found the first exomoon about 1,800 light years away from Earth.

 
We’ve discovered exoplanets by watching for light changes in stars: if a star brightens and darkens at regular intervals, it probably has a planet moving in front of it that is transiting the star. However, scientists discovered this exomoon, and the planet accompanying it, via something called gravitational microlensing. This means that a star seems brighter in intervals only when viewed at a certain angle from Earth. This happens when a star sits behind a planet and its light is bent by that planet’s gravity. After reviewing data from a series of telescopes, the Notre Dame team discovered this happening around a specific star, suggesting that a large object, followed by a smaller one, passed in front of that star. Scientists believe that second smaller object is an exomoon.
 
Another interesting thing about the exomoon is that its planet does not seem to be actually orbiting a star itself. Scientists believe both the planet and exomoon may have been kicked out of its system for getting too close to its star. The exomoon might have even been a planet, as its mass is large: about half that of Earth’s.

Tags: moonplanetspaceKeplerNASAexoplanetexomoon

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+3
We usually praise when scientists find something unexpected, completely new. This time it is good that they could confirm existence of exomoon Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+3
Not quite just confirming. This exomoon and its planet, if they are correct, would be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Also, now that scientists know what to look for, we may spot more exomoons in the future.
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+0
Yes, I agree. While exomoons have long been expected to exist, finding one has proven extremely difficult! And is unusual as it seems to be adrift in the depths of space Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+1
It almost begs the question as to whether we can really call these objects 'moons' or whether some other name is more appropriate..... Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+0
I should think that this is an important discovery: Astronomers believe that they have discovered the first moon located outside of our own solar system! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-02-18
+0
Great figurework. I think the thing that most plpoee don't think about is the time you're given to do these. Not like working from a photo.After all my blab about only working on a mac I've realised I actually need to draw again. Going to lock myself away for a while with pad, pens and no mouse. Reply


 

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