ISRO’s PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet

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Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced this discovery on Friday and has also given insight into this important discovery.

Chennai: The scientists of PRL, Ahmedabad discovered a new planet (exoplanet) using PARAS spectrograph on Mt. Abu.

Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case. The researchers also found three Earth-sized planets within the K2-239 system, situated at 160 light years from Earth. The find sees India join a small group of countries to have confirmed a planet outside our Solar System.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is NASA's flagship spacecraft to map Earth-size planets in the Goldilocks habitable zone of other stars.

It takes only 19.5 days for the planet to complete one revolution around its parent star, EPIC 211945201 (or K2-236). The surface temperature of the new planet is around 600°C as it is very close to the host star.This might make it uninhabitable, but such a discovery is of importance for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star.

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

The atmospheric temperatures around red stars are 3,450 and 3,800 K respectively.

However, calculations suggest that the heavy elements, ice, silicates, and iron content are 60-70 % of the total mass.

Astronomers from the Spanish University of Oviedo according to the telescope "Kepler" has come to the conclusion that in space there are two new planetary systems and three earth-like planets. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world that allows such precise measurements.

The scientists added that the temperature of the planet was roughly 600 degrees Celsius due to its proximity to its host star. It can measure the mass of a planet revolving around its star. As this system is reported to feature three rocky planets that are the same size as Earth, astronomers are taking notice. 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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