By: April Carson
A search for exomoons in 70 cold long-period exoplanets has yielded new evidence in support of the hypothesis. Kepler-1708b-i, a new exomoon candidate with a mass 2.6 times that of Earth and an orbit around the gas giant at a distance of 1.6 astronomical units, was discovered by astronomers using the Kepler space telescope.
Exoplanets and Exomoons
Over the last three decades, more than 4,000 exoplanets have been found, demonstrating a stunning range in size and composition. Terran planets reside on average within 0.7 AU of the Sun; gas giants with very elongated orbits are located farther out than that while compact coplanar systems from terrestrial planets may be found closer to home.
Given the number of natural satellites in our solar system, it's reasonable to assume that exomoons are also common throughout the Milky Way, but so far these objects are difficult to find and only candidates for study. In Earth's case, it is thought that the collision of the Earth with Thea, a hypothetical planet, resulted in the Moon's creation - it was made from debris ejected into space after the collision.
Exomoons are most often sought for in passing exoplanets that pass through their stars' disks, with long-period gas giants considered to be the most fascinating prospects.
When was the first exomoon candidate discovered?
The planet Kepler-1625 b, which is around four thousand light-years from Earth, was the first exomoon to be discovered by researchers in the summer of 2017.
The signal was captured during three passes of Kepler-1625 b over the mother star's disk - this is a small number that prevented astronomers from declaring with absolute certainty whether this object was the first exomoon discovered by humans. Furthermore, several scientists raised concerns about the original findings.
Overall, present theories are unable to explain how the planet Kepler-1625 b could have attracted such a satellite. Furthermore, Earth's version does not function for this object.
More exomoon possibilities were sought in recent study
In 70 cold (equilibrium temperature less than 300 kelvin), long-period (orbital period more than 400 days) gas exogiants with radii greater than two Jupiter radii, researchers from Columbia University led by David Kipping discovered the existence of exomoons.
The researchers compared the light curves of the study's exoplanets' parent stars to model light curves with possible satellite populations in order to see if there were any differences. The researchers ultimately discovered just one intriguing result, which may be interpreted as a probable exomoon with a probability of 4.8 sigmas.
What did the astronomers discover?
We're talking about the exoplanet Kepler-1708b, which has a mass of 4.6 Jupiter masses and is at an average distance of 1.6 astronomical units from its parent star. It's thought that Kepler-1708b-i, the exomoon of Kepler-1708b, has a mass of 2.6 Earth masses and is orbited by 12 planetary radii away at a distance of 576 million kilometers.
The researchers state that they can't find any evidence to dispute the Kepler-1708b-i's status as a candidate for an exomoon, but suggest taking the findings with a grain of salt. To confirm or refute the finding, they propose using the Hubble, James Webb, or PLATO space telescopes with more detailed observations.
Perhaps the Kepler-1708b-i exomoon may be the first verifiable detection of its kind outside the Solar System.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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