Earth-sized Planets Discovered in Planetary System

Monday, 11 Jun, 2018

The star, which is located roughly 160 light years from Earth, isn't like our Sun. It was also observed that K2-236b completed an orbit around the central star in 19.5 days.

"With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars", PRL's parent Indian Space Research Organisation has announced.

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of Oviedo presented the discovery of two new planetary systems, one of them hosting three planets with the same size of the Earth.

"Although the atmospheric temperature of red dwarf stars, around which these planets revolve, is 3,450 and 3,800 Kelvin respectively, nearly half the temperature of our Sun", the researchers said. This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet moving around a star. Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the US and in the Europe) that can do such precise measurements. 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.

PRL, described as the cradle of space sciences in India, conducts fundamental research in a host of physical sciences including astronomy and space. They have detected a sub-Saturn or sub-Neptune like planet revolving around a Sun-like star. 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. That means that, despite the incredibly close proximity of the three exoplanets to their host star, the surface temperature of the Earth-sized worlds may only be "tens of degrees higher", according to the scientists.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn.

EPIC 211945201b's mass is around 27 times that of Earth's and it's estimated to be around six times greater in radius. Ice, silicates and iron content make up 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the total mass.

Scientists have claimed that the discovery will help in the understanding of the formation mechanism of super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star.

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.