It's a super-Neptune or sub-Saturn size, which is of 27X Earth's mass and 6X Earth's radius. It is some 600 light years away from the Earth.
"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. Since the planet revolves around host star EPIC 211945201 or K2-236, it will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b - ISROsaid.
The exoplanet is reported to be smaller than Saturn but bigger than Neptune. The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph, integrated with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu.
Paras spectrograph has also made independent measurements of the mass of the planet body as data from Nasa's K2 (Kepler2) photometry could not confirm the nature of the system. "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", the space agency said on its website late on June 8.
Being that close, you might think that the planets would be unbearably hot but the scientists say that might not be the case. It contains at least three rocky planets, the radius of which is equal to or approximately equal to the earth, and the weight is 1.4, 0.9 and 1.3 times the mass of Earth.
It also means the planet's surface temperature is roughly 600 degrees Celsius. The scientists estimate that over 60% of its mass could be made up of heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron.
According to the definition, these are the planets which orbit a star outside the solar system. This is what they have so far discovered. But as yet another discovery of rocket planets that seem to show they are common throughout the universe, they are another sign that it could be more hospitable than we'd thought.
That's why the discovery of this super-Neptune planet is of great importance for the Indian astronomers as it is the first exoplanet this country's scientists have ever identified on their own.
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