System with three Earth-sized planets discovered

Scientists Discover New Planet'EPIC 211945201 600 Light Years Away at Mount Abu Observatory


The planets are a close match to Earth in size, but they're positioned much, much closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun. This has listed India among the countries which have discoveries of planets to their credit.

In an epic Indian discovery, a team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away. The name of the host star is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.

According to the definition, these are the planets which orbit a star outside the solar system.

The planet has been discovered using an indigenous spectrograph known as PRL Advance Radial Velocity Abu-sky Search or PARAS along with a 1.2m Telescope. It revolves around the star in about 19.5 days.

Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case.

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 exoplanet is around 27 times the mass of Earth and has six times the radius of our planet.

Going forward, the researchers plan to use the upcoming James Webb space telescope to investigate what the atmosphere of these new planets is like, which could give us a big clue as to whether or not they'd be able to support life.

The gravitational pull caused by a planet on its host star makes it wobble around their common center of mass, which shifts the spectra and can be measured in terms of Radial Velocity using precise and stabilised High Resolution Spectrographs, like the PARAS. The scientists estimate that over 60% of its mass could be made up of heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron.

The scientists observed the target over a time 420 days or about 1.5 years. This is what they have so far discovered. The discovery of the planet is important in understanding the formation of similar super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star, the statement said.

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