back to article Move over exoplanets, exomoons are the next big thing

Scientists have spotted a new candidate for a moon existing outside of our solar system, with only a 1 per cent chance the observation could be an anomaly. More than 4,000 exoplanets have been mapped since the first was found in 1992. Although the finding of worlds beyond the Earth's immediate star system generated much …

  1. davidp231

    That's no moon....

  2. HildyJ Silver badge
    Pint

    Limits

    The variety of objects in the universe is limited by our imagination.

    The confirmation of those imagined objects is limited by our (telescopic) vision.

    Here's to the boffins who push those limits.

  3. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    Holmes

    Any news on whether it's flat or not?

    1. JDPower666 Bronze badge

      It is. They've said it appears to be balanced on top of four structures, which themselves seem to standing on another large object - apparently looks like a turtle.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Once they get a spectrograph to recognise octarine we'll know for sure.

  4. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

    Cheese?

    Have they established if it's made of cheese or not?

    Asking for a friend and his dog, in Lancashire (West Wallaby Street)

  5. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    I wonder whether the deduction that this could be a moon rather than another planet orbiting the star is that it affects the timing of the tansit of the star by the large planet.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Supermoons

    Here we go again.

    At the first stage of exoplanet discovery (which we have not entirely left yet), we only detected hot Jupiters and other behemoths orbiting near their parent star. Then we started detecting so-called "super-Earths" that might have the means to support life, but were more than twice as large as our Earth.

    Well I'm sorry, but, independantly of the problem we have getting there, I don't see any normal human being settling on a planet that has a gravitational field that is twice as powerful (or more) then the one we have here. A person weighing 80kg on our blue planet will find themself battling against 160kg on a "super-Earth" that has just twice the grav potential. Cardiac problems, ahoy !

    Now, I understand the issues we have with detection, and the fact that media outlets need to generate views, but could we put a damper on all these pseudo-Earth-like planets we are finding until we find a planet that is actually Earth-like in size and density ?

    Because that is the kind of planet we need to look for as far as colonization is concerned. Well, IMO at least.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Supermoons

      ...could we put a damper on all these pseudo-Earth-like planets we are finding until we find a planet that is actually Earth-like in size and density ?

      Are you suggesting we ignore any exoplanets we might happen upon if they are too big to be useful?

      Kepler 1708 is 5,436 light years from Earth. We're not going there anytime soon.

    2. the small snake
      Boffin

      Re: Supermoons

      Apart from deranged fantasy of scifi idiots colonisation will not happen probably ever. But super Earths are good place to look for life which is frankly far more interesting than idiot propagation of idiot 'civilisation' run by idiots here. We deserve to die: they may not,

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Supermoons

        Your statement boils down to 'Oh dear, a problem, lets just lie down and die'*.

        Do you have children, do they deserve to die for humanities mistakes?

        Humanity has spent several millennia spotting problems and fixing them, sometimes the fix causes other problems, we will fix those as well.

        *Many many years ago the problem was mostly just bigger faster animals with teeth which generally led to those following that line being removed from the gene pool.

        1. X5-332960073452
          Happy

          Re: Supermoons

          Many, many moons ago, Shirley.

        2. the small snake
          Alien

          Re: Supermoons

          Perhaps you should read what I wrote not what you think I wrote. I wrote two things.

          1. Colonisation of exoplanets is deranged science fiction fantasy. If are no warp drives – and we do not see time machines so warp drive seems unlikely as time machines are inevitable consequence of FTL travel in topologically reasonable spacetime – getting to planets 10-1000 ly away is ... fantasy. Perhaps if we put entire resources of Earth into generation ship we might. If it does not go wrong. Yes these things happen in science fiction: that is why it is fiction.

          2. We (humanity) deserve to die. No I did not say we deserve to die because of any problem we are not solving: I said we deserve to die. Because I am like agent Smith: I think things would be better without us. No this does not mean I am evil genius working on doomsday device, it is just a thing I think.

          (But yes, if you want us to survive which I do not care about we have spent several thousand years entirely failing to deal with the problem which will in fact kill most of us: that exponential processes can continue for a while but then they stop. That is a problem which we have never dealt with, at all, before.)

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: Supermoons

            You are overlooking time dilation.

            While as far as an observer on Earth is concerned it'll take 100's of years for a ship to cover interstellar distances, if the ship was going at a reasonable proportion of the speed of light then the time passing on the ship may only be a few years.

            Sure we a long way of from being able to get a ship up to those sorts of speeds but unlike FTL there is no technical reason why it's not possible.

          2. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Supermoons

            >>> time machines are inevitable consequence of FTL travel <<<

            That's a level of certainty most physicists are reserving until a unified theory appears.

            >>> That is a problem which we have never dealt with, at all, before <<<

            Just like every other problem when first encountered. At some point the problem of freezing to death on a really cold day* appeared as an all new problem. If we couldn't solve all new problems on a regular basis we'd be just another Ape species spread across the warmer latitudes.

            Everything is either magic or science fiction until someone works out how to do it.

            * After the early hominids walked away from East Africa a few million years ago.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Supermoons

      Planets - check

      Moons - check

      Life -

      Humanoids -

      Vulkans -

      Klingons -

      Borg -

      1. The Bobster

        Re: Supermoons

        Borgs

        1. Spherical Cow

          Re: Supermoons

          The Borg are one single mind.

          "I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am the Borg."

          You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

    4. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Supermoons

      A person weighing 80kg on our blue planet will find themself battling against 160kg on a "super-Earth"

      I know pantomime season is over but, all together now: "Oh no they wont!"

      Surface gravity depends on the diameter and density of the planet, the further from the core, the lower the gravitational effect.

      Due to our big Iron core Earth is the most dense planet in this solar system the gravity here is higher than might be expected for a planet of this size.

      As a Super Earth by definition is larger than here the surface gravity will not be as strong as the total gravity implies.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Supermoons

        That's true, surface gravity is the important number, but without a socking great liquid iron core there's a good chance any super Earth won't have a magnetic field to prevent it being turned into a super Mars* by the solar wind, though that’s not going to be much of a problem compared to getting there in the first place.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Supermoons

          Super Mars? You've just started a whole new stupid line of superhero movies.

    5. Spherical Cow

      Re: Supermoons

      Size doesn't matter. Well not so much for exoplanets, but it does matter for the stars they orbit. The more prevalent issue is tidal locking: most exoplanets have been found orbiting red dwarves because those are the easiest to find, and they orbit their small stars closely and fast, and are tidally locked, which makes for very inhospitable surface conditions. As our observation technology improves we'll be able to find more planets orbiting more suitable stars and that's when things will get really interesting.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its late and I read this funny

    Guess that makes me an Exomoron

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