Astronomers find evidence of a second moon outside the solar system

Editor’s note: This story was corrected on January 17 to clarify the evidence that the moon was discovered in another solar system.

Astronomers have potentially found an exomoon, or moon that orbits a planet outside our solar system, for the second time.

Scientists obtained data on the potential moon from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope which retired in 2018. The telescope was launched into orbit in 2009 with the aim of identifying Earth-sized planets and d other stars.

Astronomers say the moon is 2.6 times the diameter of Earth and orbits a gaseous Jupiter-like planet, which orbits a sun-like star about 5,700 light-years away of ours, according to the scientists’ findings in the peer-reviewed journal. natural astronomy.


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The moon’s mass and composition are still unknown to astronomers.

Over the past thirty years, more than 4,000 planets around stars other than the Sun, otherwise known as exoplanets, have been discovered by astronomers but only two exomoons. Indeed, the planets are generally larger and therefore more easily identifiable.

The first exomoon candidate, which the same team of astronomers said was about the size of Neptune, was found in 2018 but has yet to be confirmed.

“Exomoons are terra incognita,” said David Kipping, professor of astronomy at Columbia University and lead author of the study. told Reuters.

“We know next to nothing about their prevalence, properties or origins. Moons can be frequent abodes for life in the cosmos and can affect the habitability of the planet in their orbit. We’ve learned so much about exoplanets over the past few decades, but exomoons present an exceptional challenge to modern astronomy.


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