Scientists find new solar systems with planets the same size as ours

Scientists find new solar systems with planets the same size as ours

At least three rocky planets have been found, two of them being 1.1 times the radius of Earth, and the third planet being nearly the exact size.

The new exoplanet presents a mass 27 times bigger than the Earth's and was found orbiting a star similar to our Sun, located at 600 million light-years far from us. This has listed India among the countries which have discoveries of planets to their credit. Scientists have named the host star as EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.

Ahmedabad, have discovered an exoplanet that is larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn. It takes them six and 20 days, respectively, to make a complete revolution around the star.

Indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-Sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with a 1.2m telescope, was used to measure the mass of the planet, which facilitated the discovery of the planet. The temperature of the surface of the newly-found planet is around 600 degrees Celsius.

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According to a report by ISRO, the new planet is a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune sized planet around a Sun-like star, as reported by India Today. It is closer to Neptune, he added.

In a conversation with Times of India, Chakraborty suggested that the planet was six hundred light years away from Earth and would be between Saturn and Neptune in size. The scientists estimate that over 60% of its mass could be made up of heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron.

On the other hand, only a few such accurate and powerful spectrographs exist around the world, the majority of which being in the USA and Europe.

Going forward, the researchers plan to use the upcoming James Webb space telescope to investigate what the atmosphere of these new planets is like, which could give us a big clue as to whether or not they'd be able to support life. The PRL scientists observed the target over a time-baseline of 420 days (in about 1.5 years) using the PARAS spectrograph for probing the nature of the system. However, he said, radial velocity observations as made in this case "are not, in general, discovery observations but [a] look at already known planetary systems for a better understanding of their nature".

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