First Exoplanets, Now Exomoons May Have Been Discovered

First Exoplanets, Now Exomoons May Have Been Discovered

Exomoon.jpg


So near yet so far. This could be used to describe this latest finding. It is thought that an exomoon may have been spotted orbiting a giant distant exoplanet. However, it could be a small star with a planet orbiting it that is 18 times the mass of Earth. Unfortunately, they can not tell which it is and to makes matters worse the way this finding occurred will never happen again. So the finding can’t be checked. Ah well. But the technique of microlensing does open the possiblity of finding exomoons in the future. 


What is microlensing? Well, that is the technique whereby if two stars align with us the mass of the nearest star acts to create a natural magnifying glass. This makes the distant star appear brighter. The chance alignment will not happen again so this finding can’t be checked.


To learn more:


 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-109&rn=news.xml&rst=4103


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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