NASA astronomers spotted the first exomoon outside of the solar system. While the reports cannot be completely confirmed, astronomers believe they have discovered a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system.
The exomoon is close to impossible to confirm says University of Notre Dame researcher David Bennett:
“We won’t have a chance to observe the exomoon candidate again. But we can expect more unexpected finds like this.”
Researchers at the joint Japan-New Zealand-American Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics and Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork (PLANET) made the initial discovery. The group published their unique findings in the Astrophysical Journal.
Astronomers say there is no way they will be able to examine the initial exomoon due to its distance away from earth. While it is easy to spot a moon from planets within our solar system, examining moons from solar systems several light years away is still difficult even with the advancements in technology.
The current method to spot moons from far away planets is using the proper ratio of light. By analyzing the different glows from stars and planets, researchers are able to distinguish what body of mass each object is according to their light. However, due to the overwhelming amount of stars in the galaxy, defining the relationships of those far away objects is exceedingly difficult. Moreover, astronomers have no precise point to look at and constantly have to scour the skies for these differentiations of light.
While astronomers have been able to find over 1,700 alien planets, they will continue to work on isolating the first alien moon.
NASA Astronomers Spotted First Exomoon Outside Solar System.