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Astronomers Have Detected Hints of a Hellish Volcanic Exomoon



Given the extravagant profusion of moons in our own solar system, it is likely that there are more exoplanets out there in the universe than there are exoplanets. Astronomers just found a signal that could mean the presence of an exomoon.

Not just any exomoon, either, but something akin to a jacked-up version of the Jovian moon Io, the most volcanically active object in the solar system.

And we really do mean jacked , WASP-49b, a massive gas giant planet known as a hot Jupiter, hurtling around yellow dwarf star WASP-49 once every 2.8 days. [19659003] "It would be a dangerous volcanic world with a molten surface of lava, a lunar version of close-in Super Earths like 55 Cancri-e," said Astrophysicist Apurva Oza of the Physics Institute of the University of Bern.

But do not go packing your lava suits just yet. The team did not detect the exomoon directly.

When WASP-49b was published in 201

7, researchers noted the presence of a thick layer of sodium at unusually high altitudes free of clouds. Ozone's international team look more closely.

"We know, based on observations closer to home, that volcanic activity on Io produces pretty hefty amounts of potassium and sodium (among a few other things). These do not cling to the moon, but get swept up into Jupiter's complex magnetosphere, resulting in the ringing of the planet.

So we know that, without the intense gravitational interplay between Io and Jupiter

In 2006, a different team of researchers extrapolated that the presence of a material in a planet could be implying the presence of a moon or other orbiting body.

So, the team crunched some numbers.

Oasis's WASP-49b, OZ's team concluded, could plausibly have found its way into the world have been spewed out by a volcanic hell-moon. But it's also plausible that other processes or phenomena are responsible –

Once again, more observation would help find answers – analyzing the planet's spectrum in greater detail. Sodium and potassium lines on the spectrum are both very strong;

In addition, it also provides another excellent reason to sample the atmospheres of exoplanets – a task at which we hope the next generation of telescopes will excel. "

" While the current wave of research is about to become habitability and biosignatures, our signature is a signature of destruction, "Oza said.

The astrophysical journal and is available on arXiv.


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