Science

Researchers discover a system with three Earth-sized planets

Researchers discover a system with three Earth-sized planets

The discovery of new planets holds importance as it helps us understand the formation mechanism of super-Neptune or sub-Saturn type of planets that are extremely close to the host star. It has a compact system of at least three rocky planets of similar size to the Earth (1.1, 1.0 and 1.1 Earth radii) that orbit the star every 5.2, 7.8 and 10.1 days, respectively. India has joined the elite club of a handful of countries with this discovery of new planets around stars. The host star's name is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn. This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet moving around a star.

The indigenously designed spectrograph named PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-Sky Search (PARAS) integrated with a 1.2-metre telescope at PRL's Gurushikar Observatory in Mount Abu aided the researchers in finding the exoplanet. However, the planet will also be called as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the USA and Europe) that can do such precise measurements. The planet is about 27 times the mass of Earth and six times the radius of Earth.

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




It also means the planet's surface temperature is roughly 600 degrees Celsius. By measuring the amount of light blocked by the planet body, we can measure the diameter or size of the planet.

According to SciTech Daily, John Grunsfeld, from NASA's Science Mission Directorate, explained that the Kepler spacecraft has yielded many surprises, and with the discovery of three new rocky planet, s we may be closer now to learning whether these other planetary systems may harbor life of some kind.

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. Also, they are extremely far away. However, he said, radial velocity observations as made in this case "are not, in general, discovery observations but [a] look at already known planetary systems for a better understanding of their nature".


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