Indian lab discovers large exoplanet around a Sun-like star

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The second red dwarf star that was detected with a new planetary system is K2-240, and this particular star features two large planets that are double the size of Earth.

This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star and with this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars.

The star the planets orbit is located in the constellation of the Sextant at 50 parsecs from the Sun - that means it's about 160 light years away.

In a post on its website, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the name of the planet is EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

This breakthrough was achieved by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph.

The exoplanet is reported to be smaller than Saturn but bigger than Neptune. The planet takes approximately 19.5 days to go around the star. It is closer to Neptune, he added.

Besides, according to the report made on this discovery, the Neptune-sized planet presents a surface temperature of about 600 degrees Celsius due to the fact that this exoplanet is orbiting very close to its host star.

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. 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. Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the US and in the Europe) that can do such precise measurements. "These planets are very unlike those in our own Solar System and understanding them will tell us more about how planetary systems are formed". Such a high temperature might make it uninhabitable for living creatures.

Based on the mass and radius, model-dependent calculations suggest that the heavy elements, like ice, silicates, and iron content is 60 to 70% of the total mass.

The scientists observed the target over a time 420 days or about 1.5 years.

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