Astronomers Think They’ve Identified Second ‘Exomoon’ Beyond Milky Way

by Samantha Whidden
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Astronomers have reportedly discovered an exomoon outside the Milky Way galaxy. This is the second time that scientists have been able to discover this type of moon.

According to Natural Astronomy, astronomers revealed that the moon has a diameter 2.6 times that of Earth. It is orbiting a Jupiter-like gaseous planet, which is orbiting a sun-like star about 5,700 light-years away from ours. In the last three decades, over 4,000 planets around stars other than the Sun. These are exoplanets. “These worlds display remarkable diversity, from highly eccentric Jupiters to compact, coplanar systems of terrestrial planets.”

Astronomers also revealed that exomoons represent a “crucial missing puzzle piece” in their efforts to understand extrasolar planetary systems. The discovered exomoon is one of the 70 cool, giant transiting exoplanet candidates found by Kepler. “We identify only one exhibiting a moon-like signal that passes a battery of vetting tests: Kepler-1708 b. We show that Kepler-1708 b is a statistically [validating] Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like quiescent star at 1.6 au.”

The research from astronomers also reveals that it is reasonable to presume that exomoons will reside around some exoplanets. However, there is very little information about the prevalence and properties of exomoons currently. “With no published exomoon surveys for planets at ≳1 au, and the intriguing hint of Kepler-1625 b-i, the aforementioned Kepler sample of long-period giant planetary candidates represents one of the most promising unturned stones.”

Astronomers Share More Details About Exomoons

During a recent interview with Reuters, astronomers shared more details about the exomoons.  The latest exomoon, much like the first one, has traits that suggest it may be greatly different from the types of moons that are populating our solar system.

While sharing more details about the exomoon, Columbus University astronomy professor, David Kipping, stated, “We don’t know the mass or indeed composition [of the exomoon]. It could be a rocky core with a light fluffy envelope. Or a thick atmosphere all the way down to some high-density core.”

Kipping also explained that exomoons are terra incognito. “We know next to nothing about their prevalence, properties, or origin. Moons may be frequent adores for life in the cosmos. And may affect the habitability of the planet their orbit.”

Although the research is still new, Kipping and other astronomers are learning so much about exoplanets. But exomoons represent an “outstanding challenge” in modern astronomy. 

Meanwhile, the latest exomoon discovery comes just a couple of months after astronomers reportedly discovered a small black hole beyond the Milky Way. As previously reported, Stefan Dreizler, a member of the team that discovered the black hole, stated, “The vast mortify [of black holes] can only be unveiled dynamically. When they form a system with a star, they will affect its motion in a subtle but detectable. So we can find them with sophisticated investments.”

Outsider.com