Artist’s concept of the moon orbiting WASP-49. The observations are similar to what’s seen with Jupiter and its moon Io in our own solar system. Researchers found sodium gas near WASP-49b, but far enough away that the gas is unlikely to be due to winds on the planet. Is this moon like Io on steroids? Image via University of Bern/Thibaut Roger.
Astronomers may have discovered a “hyper-volcanic” exomoon – an extreme version of Jupiter’s moon Io – orbiting a distant planet. A new study suggests that this possible moon, 550 light-years away, is even more volcanically active than Io, the most volcanically active body in our own solar system. An amazing discovery, if true.
The new peer-reviewed findings were published by researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland, and a draft version of the new paper was posted on arXiv on August 29, 2019.
Apurva Oza led the new study, and described what this Io-on-steroids world might be like:
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, a place where Jedis go to die, perilously familiar to Anakin Skywalker.
The possible exomoon would orbit ...