Piqued Lite - 7/30/2017 - "Kepler-1625B I", The Promising New Candidate May Be The First Ever Discovered Exomoon
To Earthlings the Moon is as normal as the blueness of the sky or the rising of the sun.
We all know. The moon is there, we all see it almost every night, and it is no longer particularly exciting for the layman.
However, the moon plays a ton of important roles for the benefit of human life on Earth. It functions as a shield for space debris and it's gravity affects the winds and the tides, just to name a couple of effects.
Moreover, the moon is an amazing remnant of the Earth's violent history, probably forming in the countless millions of years following the colission of the Earth with another solar body.
Because the presence of a moon speaks to both the creation of a planet and its potential habitability, astronomers are very interested in discovering not just exoplanets, but exomoons as well.
However, this can be very hard to do. We've only just got good at looking for full planets revolving around distant stars using fairly small changes of light as our guides. To look for a moon is an even greater challenge.
Thankfully, astronomers are up to the task. Using the Kepler space telescope they have measured the transit of more than two hundred newly discovered exoplanets in search of a potential exomoon and found one tantilizing possibility, which they're calling Kepler-1625B I.
This still needs to be confirmed, but there is a plan to use the Hubble Space Telescope to do just that. If the discovery bears out, it would be another momentous achievment enabled by Kepler