In an epic Indian discovery, a team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth in radius and 27 times in mass, and, revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away from us.
The planet have been named ‘EPIC 211945201b’ and the host star is named ‘EPIC 211945201’.
With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars
— PRL’s parent organization, Indian Space Research Organisation has announced
Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet. ‘EPIC 211945201b’ (or ‘K2-236b’) is the name given to the planet by the discovery team led by PRL’s Abhijit Chakraborty. The host star is named ‘EPIC 211945201’ or ‘K2-236’.
Here’s what is known so far:
- EPIC 211945201b’s mass is around 27 times that of Earth’s and it’s estimated to be around six times greater in radius.
- The planet orbits a Sun-like star 600 light-years away.
- It’s estimated to be more than seven times closer to its star than we are, which means a year lasts just roughly 19.5 days.
- It also means the planet’s surface temperature is roughly 600 degrees Celsius.
Importantly, this discovery could help scientists understand how these types of planets form so close to their host star.
Beyond that, it shows that India now has the technology and expertise to confirm exoplanets on their own.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made great strides in recent years, setting new records for satellite launches and putting a probe into orbit around Mars – all for incredibly efficient prices.
Obviously when it comes to space, it doesn’t matter who’s doing the research. But having more minds and telescopes searching our galaxy for signs of extraterrestrial life or even future homes for humanity is never a bad thing.
- ISRO’s PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet. (2018, June 10). Retrieved June 11, 2018, from The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/isros-prl-scientists-discover-an-epic-planet/article24127772.ece
- MacDonald, F. (2018, June 11). India Has Discovered an Amazing Planet Where a Year Lasts Just 19.5 Days. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from ScienceAlert: https://www.sciencealert.com/india-discovers-amazing-planet-year-lasts-19-5-days-600-lightyears