A sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet (with mass equivalent to 27 Earths and size six times of Earth’s radius) around a Sun-like star was discovered by Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).
“This discovery is very important for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star and as well as planet formations around Sun-like stars,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a release on Friday.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists and engineers led by Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India.
The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b.
“With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star,” the release said.
“Only 23 such planetary systems (including this discovery) are known to this date with masses between 10 and 70 Earth mass and size of 4 to 8 Earth radii with such precise measurement of mass,” the release added.
The research work has appeared online in Astronomical Journal of the American Astronomical Society.