ISRO’s PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet

11 June, 2018, 01:39 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Exoplanet discovered by Indian scientists 600 light years away

The gravitational pull caused by a planet on its host star makes it wobble around their common center of mass, which shifts the spectra and can be measured in terms of Radial Velocity using precise and stabilised High Resolution Spectrographs, like the PARAS. 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 name of the host star is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.

A surprise announcement was just made today by the University of Oviedo and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) that researchers have discovered two brand new planetary systems, and one of these new systems is reported to contain three planets that are the exact size of Earth.

Scientists have claimed that the discovery will help in the understanding of the formation mechanism of super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star. Hence the planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.

ISRO website states that the 1.2 m InfraRed Telescope at Mount Abu is the first major facility in India that is specifically designed for ground-based infrared observations of celestial objects. The temperature of the surface of the newly-found planet is around 600 degrees Celsius. Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the US and in the Europe) that can do such precise measurements. The PRL scientists observed the target for around 420 days for probing the nature of the system using the PARAS spectrograph.


Two new solar systems, filled with their own worlds, have been found relatively close to our own. It's very hard to discover an exoplanet because they are usually billions of times fainter than the stars they orbit.

According to Phys.org, the important discovery of these new planetary systems was made possible by the K2 mission that was undertaken with the use of NASA's Kepler satellite, with work that began in earnest in November, 2013. Also, they are extremely far away.

Also published on Medium.

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