Star system with three Earth-sized planets discovered

Star system with three Earth-sized planets discovered

PRL, described as the cradle of space sciences in India, conducts fundamental research in a host of physical sciences including astronomy and space. The host star's name is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.

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.

Chennai: The scientists of PRL, Ahmedabad discovered a new planet (exoplanet) using PARAS spectrograph on Mt. Abu. Therefore, an independent measurement of the mass of the body was necessary for the discovery, which was made by the PARAS spectrograph. Its mass is about 27 times Earth's and six times that of Earth at radius. A PARAS is a special kind of spectrograph that has a 1.2m telescope to locate such space objects. PRL scientists, who observed the target for about 1.5 years with the spectrograph, made calculations which suggested that heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron content make 60%-70% of the total mass.

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Researchers have determined that the atmospheric temperature of these two red dwarf stars approaches between 3,450 and 3,800 K which is much less than our own sun, with only half of its intensity. "Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the U.S. and in Europe) that can do such precise measurements", the official statement said. They were then able to identify that three Earth-sized planets are orbiting this star. This planet revolves around a Sun-like start in its solar system. Spectroscopic observations with the ESPRESSO instrument, installed in the Very Large Telescope (VLT), of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), or with future spectrographs in the GTC or in new astronomical facilities, such as the ELT or the TMT, will be crucial to determine the masses, densities and physical properties of these planets. It's very hard to discover an exoplanet because they are usually billions of times fainter than the stars they orbit. This discovery is the first of its type that occurred on the Indian territory, placing the Asian country on the very selective list of the countries that discovered far-distant worlds.

The first exoplanet was discovered in the early 1990s.

Also published on Medium.

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