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11 June 2018, 04:25 | Ross Houston
They have detected a sub-Saturn or sub-Neptune like planet revolving around a Sun-like star.
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.
With this discovery, India is now among the league of countries that have discovered planets around stars. The name of the star is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236 and the planet is EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. The team found the planet to be smaller in size than Saturn and bigger than Neptune. The discovery of the new planet was made by calculating the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph that is integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. Isrosaid very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the United States and Europe) that can do such precise measurements.
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.
Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case.
Besides, according to the report made on this discovery, the Neptune-sized planet presents a surface temperature of about 600 degrees Celsius due to the fact that this exoplanet is orbiting very close to its host star. Its mass is about 27 times Earth's and six times that of Earth at radius.
The universe keeps puzzling and intriguing curious humans as they persist in their hunt for habitable planets. The report said it was Nasa's K2 (Kepler2) photometry that found that the source was a planetary candidate as it was transiting, where the planet body comes between the star and the Earth. Ice, silicates and iron content make up 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the total mass. The PRL scientists observed the target over a time-baseline of 420 days (in about 1.5 years) using the PARAS spectrograph for probing the nature of the system.
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