Sunday, 17 June, 2018

System with three Earth-sized planets discovered

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth Representative image | Pixabay
Theresa Hayes | 11 June, 2018, 16:25

With this, India joins the elite club of countries that have discovered planets. According to ISRO, the newly found planet rotates around a star similar to the sun, and takes 19.5 days to complete one rotation. The name of the star is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236 and the planet is EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

Initially, the source was found to be a planetary candidate from NASA K2 (Kepler2) photometry because it was transiting, that is the planet body comes in between the star and the observer on Earth as it goes around the star and therefore it blocks a tiny amount of star-light.

This breakthrough was achieved by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn. The planet is about 27 times the mass of Earth and six times the radius of Earth.

The planet is seven times nearer to the host star than the Earth-Sun distance which leads to its surface temperature to 600°C.

On the other hand, only a few such accurate and powerful spectrographs exist around the world, the majority of which being in the USA and Europe.

The scientists observed the target over a time 420 days or about 1.5 years.

Based on the mass and radius, model-dependent calculations suggest that the heavy elements, like ice, silicates, and iron content is 60 to 70% of the total mass. But as yet another discovery of rocket planets that seem to show they are common throughout the universe, they are another sign that it could be more hospitable than we'd thought. "Over the next few years, I expect that they will be able to make further contributions to this exciting field of astronomy".

Importantly, this discovery could help scientists understand how these types of planets form so close to their host star. However, he said, radial velocity observations as made in this case "are not, in general, discovery observations but [a] look at already known planetary systems for a better understanding of their nature".