Scientists may have discovered an exomoon which is on the verge of destruction. An exomoon is a moon revolving inside a planet’s orbit, which is part of different solar system. A Swedish from the University of Bern, led by ApurvaOza, analyzed the light coming from the extra-terrestrial body. The exoplanet which is estimated to half about half the mass of Jupiter may be orbiting a star 550 light-years away from the Earth.
The exoplanet, called WASP-49, completes one orbit every three days. Oza and team speculated that hot lava might flow on this exomoon’s surface. The researchers gave their conclusion on the basis of the high level of sodium gas they detected at the planetary system.
Oza, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bern, said that the exomoon’s environment would be a dangerous place full of volcanoes and molten lava. Oza is a co-author to this study and works at the Physics Institute of the university. It must be noted that the team did not directly detect the exomoon. Their inference of the exomoon’s existence is based on data from the planet and the material detected in the planet’s upper atmosphere.
In 2017, a paper was published describing WASP-49B’s atmosphere. There was a layer of sodium at very high altitudes which prompted Oza and team to look closer. Oza said that sodium gas is neutral and was very far from the planet. It was unlikely that a planetary wind could emit it. Commenting on the nature of his research, Oza said that traditionally outer space research efforts were directed towards habitability, their research showed signs of massive destruction. Oza said it was exciting to see and monitor these celestial fireworks happening in real-time.
The research, which is available on the internet, is published in The Astrophysical Journal.