Astronomers have found another possible exomoon outside the solar system. She was named Kepler-1708 b-i.
An international team of astronomers has found a new celestial body in data from the Kepler space telescope. Scientists believe that this is an exomoon, a satellite of an extrasolar planet. The object was named Kepler-1708 b-i. It is located in the system of the planet Kepler-1708 b and orbits a star that looks a bit like the Sun at a distance of 1.6 AU. The planet Kepler-1708 b itself, around which the exomoon revolves, is similar to Jupiter. The entire system is located at a distance of about 5,700 light-years from Earth.
A preliminary assessment showed that Kepler-1708 b-i is a gaseous object slightly smaller than Neptune. Ordinarily, planetary moons are much smaller than Earth, but the new exomoon is so large that scientists consider it a candidate for habitability. The results of the study are published in the journal Nature Astronomy. The authors of the work note that their results still need to be verified. However, if Kepler-1708 b-i really turns out to be an exomoon, this will open up a new field for studying satellites of extrasolar planets and searching for life on them.
The planet and its moon were discovered by the transit method, by studying changes in the luminosity of the star Kepler-1708. To find the satellite, scientists analyzed a database of more than 4,000 exoplanets discovered by NASA’s now retired Kepler space telescope. After a preliminary analysis, astronomers focused on 70 exoplanets, among which was Kepler-1708 b.