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Planet 600 Light Years Away From Earth Discovered by Indian Scientists

11 June 2018

While the heat on the planet makes it uninhabitable, its discovery is important to help understand "the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star". This has listed India among the countries which have discoveries of planets to their credit.

They spent a year a half at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India, studying the changes in light coming from the planet's host star, EPIC 211945201 or K2-236, and performing an independent confirmation of its mass.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn. The planet takes approximately 19.5 days to go around the star.

The Indian team from the PRL employed their "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph with which they measured the mass of the new exoplanet. Hence, the exoplanet has been named after its the host star as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

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Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case. These type of spectrographs exist mostly in the U.S. and in the Europe that can do such precise measurements.

The surface temperature of the planet was found to be around 600 degrees Celsius and was found to be seven times nearer to its star, in comparison with Earth-sun distance.

However, calculations suggest that the heavy elements, ice, silicates, and iron content are 60-70 % of the total mass. Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet.

According to a report by ISRO, the new planet is a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune sized planet around a Sun-like star, as reported by India Today. This is what they have so far discovered. Indian researchers have detected this planet and have estimated its mass and size with more than 50% precision. 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".

Planet 600 Light Years Away From Earth Discovered by Indian Scientists