A New Rare Interstellar Moon just Found? 


Sika Vrlaku

Recent studies have shown that a new rare exomoon has potentially been found. Astronomers have faith that they have detected a new exomoon (moons located outside of the solar system) orbiting another exoplanet, Kepler 1780b, more than 5,000 light years away from Earth. 

Exomoons, unlike their brethren, are significantly much harder to find since they are a lot smaller in size. Since there are about 200 satellites within our solar system, typical moons are easily found but the search for an interstellar moon continues. By using the transit method or by just observing dips in starlight for when a planet seems to pass in front of it’s star, astronomers are able to discover and confirm more than 4,000 exoplanets. Moons, however, are much more difficult to spot since they are much smaller in size and cause more diminutive dips in starlight. 

This new celestial body is rumored to be about 2.6 times larger than the size of Earth. Earth’s moon is roughly about 3.7 times smaller than it’s keeper.

The man along with his crew are responsible for the first and now the second exomoon finding is David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy and leader of the Cool World’s Lab at Columbia University. Their first discovery was a planet about the size of Neptune found orbiting an exoplanet named Kepler-1625b back in 2018. 

Reverting back to the knowledge and understanding that exomoons are much more difficult to find, Kipping released a statement, “Astronomers have found more than 10,000 exoplanet candidates so far, but exomoons are far more challenging. They are terra incognita”. 

By researching and understanding more about the moons, how they form and if they are able to support life forms, helps to play a role in potential habitability of planets. 


How They Found This Potential Moon: 


It should be mentioned that Kipping and his team are still working on trying to confirm that this candidate is actually an exomoon, since again they are extremely difficult to find. By using data from NASA’s retired planet hunting Kepler mission, the crew was able to survey some of the coldest gas giant exoplanets previously found to further their studies. Out of about 10 planets studied only 1 revealed a companion signal that appeared to be a moon and there is a 1% probability of it being something else.