Scientists find new solar systems with planets the same size as ours

Scientists Discover New Planet'EPIC 211945201 600 Light Years Away at Mount Abu Observatory

Scientists Discover New Planet'EPIC 211945201 600 Light Years Away at Mount Abu Observatory

A sub-Saturn or super-Neptune sized planet which has 27 times more mass and whose radius is six times more than that of the planet Earth has been discovered by a group of researchers from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.

The planet is seven times nearer to the host star than the Earth-Sun distance which leads to its surface temperature to 600°C. This has listed India among the countries which have discoveries of planets to their credit. It has the name EPIC 211945201 (K2-236) and thus, the planet has been given the name EPIC 211945201B (K2-236B).

The exoplanet is reported to be smaller than Saturn but bigger than Neptune. It revolves around the star in about 19.5 days. They integrated the spectrograph with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikar Observatory in Mount Abu, to measure the mass of the planet, leading to the discovery.

The planets are a close match to Earth in size, but they're positioned much, much closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun. Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the United States of America and in the Europe) that can do such precise measurements.


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

While we're not expecting to travel to Earth-like planets anytime soon, scientists are still preoccupied with finding them, if only to see that we're potentially not alone in the universe. The star's effective temperature is estimated at 3,450 Kelvin degrees, which is almost one and a half times less than that of the sun. 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. 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.

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

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