Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

At least three rocky planets have been found, two of them being 1.1 times the radius of Earth, and the third planet being nearly the exact size. Speaking to TOI from Ahmedabad, Chakraborty said the new planet, which is 600 light years away from Earth, was between the size of Saturn and Neptune.

"With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars", PRL's parent Indian Space Research Organisation has announced. Scientists have named the host star as EPIC 211945201 or K2-236. The team found the planet to be smaller in size than Saturn and bigger than Neptune.

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.

The Indian team from the PRL employed their "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph with which they measured the mass of the new exoplanet.

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. It contains at least three rocky planets, the radius of which is equal to or approximately equal to the earth, and the weight is 1.4, 0.9 and 1.3 times the mass of Earth. It is closer to Neptune, he added.

That's why the discovery of this super-Neptune planet is of great importance for the Indian astronomers as it is the first exoplanet this country's scientists have ever identified on their own. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the U.S. and Europe) that can do such precise measurements.

Exoplanets themselves aren't that rare these days - we have confirmed the existence of 3,786 of them. Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet. 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. Ice, silicates and iron content make up 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the total mass.

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