A scientific team lead by Professor Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad has made a remarkable discovery.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has a detailed report on how the scientists made the breakthrough. The discovery of the new planet was made by calculating the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph that is integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. What is interesting is that this is the first of its kind spectrograph in India as it can measure the mass of a planet going around a star.Prof Abhijit Chakraborty said that the new planet, which is 600 light years away from Earth, was between the size of Saturn and Neptune. “It’s closer to Neptune,” he said.
The planet is seven times nearer to the host star than the Earth-Sun distance which leads to its surface temperature to 600°C. Such a high temperature might make it uninhabitable for living creatures. However, this discovery is crucial for knowing the mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star. India has joined the elite club of a handful of countries with this discovery of new planets around stars. The name of the planet is EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. The host star’s name is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.