A team of Indian scientists, under the guidance of Prof Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has found an exoplanet. Even more, the scientists calculated that the planet completes a full orbit around its star in only about 20 Earth days. 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.
Since it closely rotates around a hot star, the planet bears a temperature of around 600 degree centigrade.
The exoplanet is reported to be smaller than Saturn but bigger than Neptune. 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. The planet goes around the star in about 19.5 days.
The Indian team from the PRL employed their "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph with which they measured the mass of the new exoplanet. 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.
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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 discovery of the planet is important in understanding the formation of similar super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star, the statement said.
"Although the atmospheric temperature of red dwarf stars, around which these planets revolve, is 3,450 and 3,800 Kelvin respectively, nearly half the temperature of our Sun", the researchers said.
According to The Hindu, PARAS will be upgraded with a 2.5 m telescope, and it will be known as PARAS-2. 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. "Extra" implies that these are outside our solar system. "Over the next few years, I expect that they will be able to make further contributions to this exciting field of astronomy".