Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Representative image | Pixabay

A scientific team lead by Professor Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad has made a remarkable discovery. "It is closer to Neptune", he said, pointing out that the new planet had 27 times the mass of Earth and six times its radius. This new planet completes its revolution around the star in 19.5 days. The gravitational pull by any planet caused its sun-like stars to wobble around their common center of mass.

While the heat on the planet makes it uninhabitable, its discovery is important to help understand "the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star".

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. Hence the planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

The PARAS is the first spectrograph of its kind in India.

Researchers have determined that the atmospheric temperature of these two red dwarf stars approaches between 3,450 and 3,800 K which is much less than our own sun, with only half of its intensity.

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Paras spectrograph has also made independent measurements of the mass of the planet body as data from Nasa's K2 (Kepler2) photometry could not confirm the nature of the system. It was designed by the members of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Division of PRL. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world that allows such precise measurements. And thus, the 1.2m telescope, PARAS, was put to use from the Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

The Kepler satellite, while suffering technical problems in 2013, has nevertheless enabled scientists to estimate that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-size exoplanets orbiting the habitable zones of stars like the Solar System's Sun, as well as red dwarfs, within the Milky Way. It's very hard to discover an exoplanet because they are usually billions of times fainter than the stars they orbit.

There are only a handful of nations that have the capability to explore regions so far away, let alone discover entirely new planets.

The first exoplanet was discovered in the early 1990s. The temperature of the surface of the newly-found planet is around 600 degrees Celsius.

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