Researchers discover a system with three Earth-sized planets

Katie Ramirez
June 11, 2018

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.

NASA's Kepler satellite, which was launched in 2009 as part of the K2 mission, has uncovered three Earth-sized planets in another solar system. It's a super-Neptune or sub-Saturn size, which is of 27X Earth's mass and 6X Earth's radius.

The surface temperature of the planet was found to be around 600 degrees Celsius and was found to be seven times nearer to its star, in comparison with Earth-sun distance. "It is closer to Neptune", he said, pointing out that the new planet had 27 times the mass of Earth and six times its radius. This is the first of its kind spectrograph in the country, which can measure the mass of a planet moving around a star. Such a high temperature might make it uninhabitable for living creatures.

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The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-Sky Search" spectrograph integrated with a 1.2m telescope at PRL's Gurushikar Observatory in Rajasthan's Mount Abu. These type of spectrographs exist mostly in the U.S. and in the Europe that can do such precise measurements. The host star's name is EPIC 211945201 or K2-236. The PRL scientists observed the target over a time-baseline of 420 days (in about 1.5 years) using the PARAS spectrograph for probing the nature of the system.

However, calculations suggest that the heavy elements, ice, silicates, and iron content are 60-70 % of the total mass.

That's why the discovery of this super-Neptune planet is of great importance for the Indian astronomers as it is the first exoplanet this country's scientists have ever identified on their own. Now, a trio of new rocky worlds has been discovered orbiting a distant star, and while they're a lot like Earth in terms of size, they're a bit steamier. "Extra" implies that these are outside our solar system. Also, they are extremely far away.

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