Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Hence, the exoplanet has been named after its the host star as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. The find sees India join a small group of countries to have confirmed a planet outside our Solar System.

"Although the atmospheric temperature of red dwarf stars, around which these planets revolve, is 3,450 and 3,800 Kelvin respectively, nearly half the temperature of our Sun", the researchers said.

The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-Sky Search" spectrograph integrated with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikar Observatory in Rajasthan's Mount Abu.

Importantly, this discovery could help scientists understand how these types of planets form so close to their host star.

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The three Earth-sized planets all have quite short orbits around their sun, with the longest orbit of one of the planets being completed in just 10.1 days. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the United States and Europe) that can do such precise measurements. They have detected a sub-Saturn or sub-Neptune like planet revolving around a Sun-like star.

Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case. These researchers estimate that all planets discovered will have temperatures superficial tens of degrees higher than those of the planet Earth due to the strong radiation they receive in these close orbits to their stars.

Prof Abhijit Chakraborty said that the new planet, which is 600 light years away from Earth, was between the size of Saturn and Neptune. PRL scientists, who observed the target for about 1.5 years with the spectrograph, made calculations which suggested that heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron content make 60%-70% of the total mass.

The universe keeps puzzling and intriguing curious humans as they persist in their hunt for habitable planets. 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".

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