Astronomers Might Have Found the First Alien Moon
Near the swirling depths of a vast strange world, a new moon may increase.
This week, astronomers have launched tantalizing and thoughtful finds that a huge moon Neptune orbiting a giant planet about 4000 light years.
If confirmed, the discovery would be enormous. The strange strange moon would be the first detected in orbit a strange world, which marks a new chapter in the study of astronomers on the cosmos.
However, finding a moon at such distances is not an easy task, and as is often the case with the distant discovery of the planet, the team must collect more data to prove its existence.
Astronomers have scheduled time to organize the Hubble Space Telescope’s host planet star in October 2017 to see if the signal is accumulating.
“This professional is intriguing, and we feel pretty good about it because we asked Hubble’s time,” said Alex Teachey, a graduate student at Columbia University, in an email. “But we want to be very clear that we do not intend to be detected at this stage.”
ANOTHER KEPLER CUP?
If the results bear fruit, the Moon would be the latest in a series of Kepler’s remarkable discoveries.
Launched in 2009, the space observatory found more than 2,000 foreign worlds and about 4,000 planet candidates, and astronomers have not yet finished exploiting their riches. In June, astronomers using Kepler’s data identified another 219 alien planets, some of which could be habitable as Earth.
Kepler works by detecting when those distant planets pass in front of their main star from the terrestrial perspective. This transit temporarily blocks a fraction of the star’s light, causing periodic gout in apparent brightness.
Detecting a moon orbiting a planet using this same technique is extremely difficult. The moons are even smaller than their planets, which means that their transits do not block much of the stars. On the other hand, astronomers are trying to distinguish the signals of the moon and the planet into orbit.
However, these challenges have not prevented scientists trying to find foreign moons, some of which could be habitable, Pandora’s Avatar or the moons of Endor in Star Wars.
Since 2012, Columbia University astronomer and co-author of the study, David Kipping took exomoons hunting with Kepler (HEK), an effort to paint Kepler’s data in search of moons’ tracks.
The new document researchers, published in the pre arXiv department, focuses on 284 planets Kepler considered more likely to support systems similar to those of Jupiter’s moon. The team stacked statistically the transit of data planets, hoping that smears the moons allow in the collective signal.