First Alien Moon detected outside Solar System | Sunday Observer

First Alien Moon detected outside Solar System

An artist's impression of what could be the first moon outside the solar system ever found, via NASA’s Hubble and Kepler space telescope observations.

Over the last couple of decades, astronomers have identified thousands of planets outside the solar system. However, they have been unable to find confirmation of a moon revolving around any of the distant worlds, mainly because the generally smaller satellites are harder to spot. Now, some researchers from Columbia University believe they have found evidence of an alien moon orbiting a gaseous exoplanet which lies almost 8,000 light years away.

For their study, astronomers Alex Teachey and David Kipping, who have been searching for alien moons for nearly a decade, focused on the 284 exoplanets discovered by the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft. The distant worlds were considered the best candidates for potential exomoons due to their relatively wide orbits that span more than 30 days.

Specifically, the scientists were searching for two dips in light – one caused by the exoplanet as it passed in front of its star and the second by another, most likely smaller, celestial body.

After sifting through the data collected by Kepler, the researchers were able to identify one exoplanet, Kepler-1625b, that looked promising.

“We saw little deviations and wobbles in the light curve that caught our attention,” Kipping said.