Cosmic Rival? Astronomers Spot Enigmatic System with Three Earth-Size Planets

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A team from PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) has discovered this planet. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced this discovery on Friday and has also given insight into this important discovery. They have detected a sub-Saturn or sub-Neptune like planet revolving around a Sun-like star.

That solar system, which orbits the star K2-239, is located about 160 lightyears away and can be found inside the constellation Sextans (the Sextant, naturally). Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet.

Researchers at the PRL believes that the discovery of such planets will help them to study the formation of sub-Neptune or sub-Saturn like planets. The Kepler satellite also found another star, a red dwarf variety, called K2-240, with two super-Earth-like planets about twice the size of our planet. The host star is named EPIC 211945201 or K2-236. This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star.

PARAS was integrated with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India.

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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. Ice, silicates and iron content make up 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the total mass. 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.

With the new planet's calculated orbit around its sun-like star, it is estimated that a year on this planet ends in about 19.5 days. Isro said very few such spectrographs exist around the world that allows such precise measurements. Abhijeet Chakraborty. Researchers briefed that this planet has 600-degree Celsius temperature on its surface.

Though unique in its own way, this "epic" planet is one of 22 other confirmed exoplanet systems with the same dimensions. The scientists have used a PARAS spectrograph for calculating the mass of the planet.