Exomoons are the natural satellites of planets orbiting stars outside our solar system, of which there are currently no confirmed examples. We present new observations of a candidate exomoon associated with Kepler-1625b using the Hubble Space Telescope to validate or refute the moon's presence. We find evidence in favor of the moon hypothesis, based on timing deviations and a flux decrement from the star consistent with a large transiting exomoon. Self-consistent photodynamical modeling suggests that the planet is likely several Jupiter masses, while the exomoon has a mass and radius similar to Neptune. Since our inference is dominated by a single but highly precise Hubble epoch, we advocate for future monitoring of the system to check model predictions and confirm repetition of the moon-like signal.
- Pub Date:
- October 2018
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 98 pages, 22 figures, 5 tables. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Select data products available at https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8795NHS