Scientists have discovered a new planet similar to Earth

Christopher Davidson
June 11, 2018

The scientists found that the host star is about 600 light years away from Earth and the planet goes around the star in 19.5 days.

With this discovery, India is now among the league of countries that have discovered planets around stars.

The planets, which were discovered around a star called K2-239, are incredibly close to Earth in overall size, with radii measuring between 1.0 and 1.1 times that of our own planet. The mass of the planet has been estimated to be around 27 times the mass of the Earth whereas its radius is estimated to be 6 times that of the Earth.

The planet is seven times nearer to the host star than the Earth-Sun distance which leads to its surface temperature to 600°C.

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.

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However, calculations suggest that the heavy elements, ice, silicates, and iron content are 60-70 % of the total mass. Hence the planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

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

The two new planets were found to reside in the Habitable Zone. Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet.

On the other hand, only a few such accurate and powerful spectrographs exist around the world, the majority of which being in the United States and Europe. It's very hard to discover an exoplanet because they are usually billions of times fainter than the stars they orbit. "Over the next few years, I expect that they will be able to make further contributions to this exciting field of astronomy". The first exoplanet (51 Pegasi b) was discovered by Michael Mayor and Didier Queloz in 1995.

According to Phys.org, the important discovery of these new planetary systems was made possible by the K2 mission that was undertaken with the use of NASA's Kepler satellite, with work that began in earnest in November, 2013.

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