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Another Neptune-Like Exomoon Candidate Reported (Kepler-1708 b-i)

Accepted submission by takyon at 2022-01-17 20:54:11

Astronomers may have found a second Neptune-size exomoon hidden in the retired Kepler space telescope's data []

Despite an explosion of exoplanet discoveries since the 1990s, astronomers have not confirmed the discovery of a single exomoon. In fact, only around a dozen exomoon candidates have been put forward up to now.

In 2018, David Kipping (Columbia University) and Alex Teachey (now at Academia Sinica, Taiwan) were the first, tentatively reporting [] a possible Neptune-radius moon about 7,800 light-years from Earth: Kepler-1625 b-i. Now, the astronomers and other colleagues have announced the discovery of another exomoon, published January 14th in Nature Astronomy []. However, just as before, they urge both caution and the need for further observations.

The putative exomoon, designated Kepler-1708 b-i, was found 5,700 light-years away, orbiting a Jupiter-size planet around a star similar to the Sun. The planet is on a Mars-like orbit, at about 1.6 astronomical units (a.u.). Its moon orbits about 12 planetary radii away, similar to Europa's distance from Jupiter. Unlike Europa, though, Kepler-1708 b-i is huge, about 2.5 times Earth's size. This means the moon would be unlike any satellite in our solar system.

Yet another observation to add onto JWST's schedule.

Also at Scientific American [].

Previously: First Exo-Moon Discovered? []
First Known Exomoon May Have Been Detected: Kepler 1625b i []
New Evidence Supports Existence of Neptune-Sized Exomoon Orbiting Kepler-1625b []
Exomoon Confirmation Remains Elusive []

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