The mystery of the moon more than twice the size of the Earth- Corriere.it

Kepler-1708b-i was discovered 5,500 light-years away from us between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra

After the exoplanets around other distant stars in the galaxy, astronomers have now managed to collect traces of the existence of first and moons present in the surroundings of those remote celestial bodies. For the moment the protagonist David Kipping with his group of astronomers from Columbia University in New York. Together they wrote an intriguing account of
Nature Astronomy
telling of having found the clues of a gigantic exoluna in the vicinity of the exoplanet Kepler-1708b hidden between the constellations of the Swan and the Lyre at 5,500 light years from Earth.

More than double

Its size is especially surprising a radius even 2.6 times larger than that of the earth, almost ten times that of selene. There is no such moon in the solar system. So the presence of Kepler-1708b-i, as baptized, opens up a new world of which one could only imagine the existence without there being any evidence. Kipping had been working on it for a decade and four years ago reported that he had caught the signal of an exoluna which then went unconfirmed. Insisting now come to a new candidate who impresses and asks questions not only for its exceptional characteristics but above all on the formation of moons in planetary systems that could be very different from that held up to now.

The search for exolunas

Kipping has scanned about seventy exoplanets quite far from the parent star, over 150 million kilometers, in favorable conditions for the difficult search. By measuring the attenuation of the parent star’s light when the exoplanet passed in front, the scientist caught an anomaly in the brightness. All possible verifications have led to the conclusion that it was precisely the presence of an exoluna that generated it. We would not be able to explain it otherwise, he added. Strange in the hypothesized gaseous nature, its dimensions have made it possible to identify it given the weakness of the tools available. The same happened with the discovery of the first exoplanets. If confirmed, the question of its origins opens up, he comments Mario Damasso exoplanet specialist at the National Institute of Astrophysics of Turin. And in addition to the two traditional explanations, namely that it is the result of the collision between two bodies or that it arose from the primordial material from which the planetary procession was born, a third one can advance: that it was also one of the planets, indeed a super planet, of the parent star then captured by the gravitational force of the nearby even greater planet similar to Jupiter. Perhaps the new James Webb super space telescope will find the answer.

January 14, 2022 (change January 14, 2022 | 21:37)

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