Astronomers may have discovered the first moon outside Earth's Solar System

An artist's impression of the exoplanet Kepler-1625b transiting the star with the newly discovered exomoon in tow is shown in this image released

The researchers monitored a 19-hour event when the planet known as Kepler 1625b passed in front of its parent star blocking out some of the light coming from the star, which lies at a distance of 8,000 light-years from Earth and matched with their expectations.

Scientists claim they have discovered the first moon outside our solar system.

"It's big and weird by solar system standards", Columbia University astronomy professor David Kipping said of the moon, known as an exomoon because it is outside our solar system. The planet Endor itself is a gas giant, but the Forest Moon is a habitable world, peopled by small furry sentient creatures.

In the Solar system known eight major planets and their satellites about 200.

"This is a delightful reminder of how little we know about distant planetary systems and how great the spirit of discovery, which embodies exoplanetary science", said one of the study's authors Alex Tichy.

The celestial object has a diameter of about 49,000 km, more than nine times the size of Jupiter's Ganymede, which is the largest moon in the solar system.

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"An extraterrestrial civilization watching the Earth and Moon transit the Sun would note similar anomalies in the timing of Earth's transit", Kipping said.

Second, once the planet finished passing by the face of the star, they observed another decrease in brightness about 3.5 hours later, consistent with "a moon trailing the planet like a dog following its owner on a leash", says Kipping in a press release.

The researchers requested time on the Hubble Space Telescope, and their request, which was public, generated a bit of excitement among those who follow new planet discoveries.

"We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention", Kipping said, in the paper reported in the journal Science Advances.

To gather more precise data on the odd system the researchers monitored in October 2017, during Kepler 1625b's next transit for 40 hours. This is consistent with a model of the system in which the planet and its moon orbit a common centre of gravity, causing the planet to wobble away from its predicted location [4]. Astronomers have had success locating exoplanets around stars outside our solar system, but exomoons are harder to pinpoint due to their smaller size.

It's not like the exomoon in "Avatar" or Endor from "Star Wars", Teachey said, "but going forward, I think we're opening doors to finding worlds like that".

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Various attempts have been made previously to confirm or deny that there is a moon outside our solar system.

Still, moons orbiting around other planets may not be all that unusual. Kepler-1625b-i is roughly the size of our own ice giant Neptune.

Hints of a moon orbiting the planet called Kepler-1625b were first detected a year ago, but the pair used Hubble to analyse the region in greater detail. They checked about 300 planets for any weirdness that might mean a moon.

The size and gaseous composition of the exomoon challenge current moon formation theories. Such gargantuan moons are unknown in our own Solar System.

But Dr Kipping said: "Both bodies, however, are considered to be gaseous and therefore unsuitable for life as we know it". The research team hopes to take another look at the star next May, if there is time available on the Hubble. Once the James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2021, the search for exomoons may be full of possibilities.

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