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The moon was discovered circling Kepler 1625b, a massive gas giant three times the size of Jupiter orbiting a star in the constellation Cygnus about 8,000 light years away, reports Sarah Kaplan at The Washington Post.

Researchers analysed data from 284 Kepler-discovered planets that were comparatively in wider orbits, with periods greater than 30 days, around their host star.

According to a recently released study by the Columbia University, astronomers found the first moon outside our solar system. None have been confirmed so far even though more than 3,500 exoplanets are known. The planet Endor itself is a gas giant, but the Forest Moon is a habitable world, peopled by small furry sentient creatures.

Teachey and co-author David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia, published their findings in the journal Science Advances on October 3.

"If confirmed by follow-up observations, the finding could provide vital clues about the development of planetary systems and may cause experts to revisit theories of how moons form around planets", he added.

Teachey and Kipping believe the moon is approximately the size of Neptune, making it larger than any moon in our solar system.

The exomoon and its planet orbit Kepler-1625, a star similar in temperature to our sun but about 70 percent larger.

The event of a planet passing in front of a star is called a transit, and Kepler-1625b's takes about 19 hours. Kipping and his colleague Alex Tichy made their discovery based on the more than 300 distant planets, which were discovered using the space telescope Kepler.

Describing the moment of discovery, scientist David Kipping said: "It was definitely a shocking moment to see that light curve". This would be the first moon found outside the Solar System, as indicated by a new study distributed in the journal Science Advances.

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The second, much smaller transit could have been caused by a moon that follows or trails after its parent planet.

He said: "Unfortunately, the scheduled Hubble observations ended before the complete transit of the moon could be measured".

"The first exomoon is obviously an extraordinary claim and it requires extraordinary evidence", Teachey said. Out of this multitude of planets, the scientists found a particular one, Kepler-1625b, presented the right conditions for holding an exomoon.

In addition to this dip in light, Hubble provided supporting evidence for the moon hypothesis by measuring that the planet began its transit 1.25 hours earlier than predicted. A Jupiter-sized body with a Neptune-sized moon is unlike anything scientists have seen before.

This illustration provided by Dan Durda shows the exoplanet Kepler-1625b with a hypothesized moon. Ultimately, Kepler-1625b-i can not be considered confirmed until it has survived the long scrutiny of many years, observations and community skepticism, and perhaps the detection of similar such objects.

Moons are abundant in our own solar system, with close to 200. "But we knew our job was to keep a level head and essentially assume it was bogus, testing every conceivable way in which the data could be tricking us".

NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope could really "clean-up" in the satellite search, .

This artist's impression depicts the exomoon candidate Kepler-1625b-i, the planet it is orbiting and the star in the centre of the star system. Beyond about 4,000 planets, and satellites - no: too hard to find them at such great distances.


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