Astronomers may have found the first exomoon | Science News

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Astronomers may have found an exomoon, and Hubble is going to check

6:00am, July 28, 2017
illustration of exomoons

EXOMOONS AHOY  Moons like the ones in this illustration could be a haven for life outside the solar system.

The first evidence for an exomoon — a moon orbiting a planet orbiting a distant star — may have been spotted in data from the Kepler space telescope. But surprisingly, exomoons in general may be rare, at least around planets close to their stars.

Alex Teachey and David Kipping of Columbia University analyzed the dips in light from exoplanets passing, or transiting, in front of their stars. A second, smaller dip that appears ahead of or behind the planet could reveal a moon. Such exomoons, researchers have speculated, may be among the best places in the universe to look for extraterrestrial life. But because those signals are faint and inconsistent, they take a lot of computing power to find. Kipping has been searching for such signals for years in a project called the Hunt for

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