Earth-sized Planets Discovered in Planetary System

Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away from Earth

Representative image | Pixabay

PRL, described as the cradle of space sciences in India, conducts fundamental research in a host of physical sciences including astronomy and space.

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. 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.

Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case. They informed that this planet is situated the distance of 600 light years.

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Researchers at the PRL believes that the discovery of such planets will help them to study the formation of sub-Neptune or sub-Saturn like planets. The find sees India join a small group of countries to have confirmed a planet outside our Solar System.

The other red dwarf star called K2-240 has two super-Earth-like planets about twice the size of our planet.

The team named the new planet as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b after its host star. Its surface is around 600 degree Celsius and is very close to the host star.

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PARAS was integrated with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India.

"The spectrograph is the first of its kind in the country which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star". Although the atmospheric temperature of red dwarf stars, around which these planets revolve, is 3,450 and 3,800 K respectively, nearly half the temperature of our Sun.

Using that data, PRL scientists who've been observing the planet for over a year now, claim that ice, iron and other heavy elements account for 60-70% of the planet's mass. These type of spectrographs exist mostly in the U.S. and in the Europe that can do such precise measurements.

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A total of seven Earth-size planets were found there, three of which are in the so-dubbed "habitable zone". The observations which will be done with VLT, future spectrographs in the GTC or with European Southern Observatory (ESO) is said to crucial as they determine the masses, physical properties, and densities of these planets.

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