Indian scientists discover new planet 600 light years away

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According to the website of the Indian Space Research Organisation, scientists have said that the planet revolves around a sun-like star.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn. As this system is reported to feature three rocky planets that are the same size as Earth, astronomers are taking notice. This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet moving around a star.

One of them is just 160 light years from Earth and includes three planets that are remarkably similar in size to our own. The exoplanet is around 27 times the mass of Earth and has six times the radius of our planet. The detection also adds to a sparse catalogue of 22 other confirmed exoplanet systems that have a mass and radius in this range, ISRO said.

The gravitational pull caused by a planet on its host star makes it wobble around their common center of mass, which shifts the spectra and can be measured in terms of Radial Velocity using precise and stabilised High Resolution Spectrographs, like the PARAS. At least three rocky planets have been found, two of them being 1.1 times the radius of Earth, and the third planet being nearly the exact size. The scientists estimate that over 60% of its mass could be made up of heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron. However, the planet will also be called as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

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This breakthrough was achieved by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph.

Indian researchers at Physics Research Laboratory (PRL), for the first time, have succeeded in detecting a planet revolving around a star. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the United States and Europe) that can do such precise measurements.

The scientists observed the target over a time 420 days or about 1.5 years. It is expected to be launched in 2020. The temperature of the surface of the newly-found planet is around 600 degrees Celsius. But it does not necessarily mean that these planets are also habitable or have conditions necessary to support life.

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