Sci-tech

India scientists in Ahmedabad discovers Neptune like planet: Watch here

India scientists in Ahmedabad discovers Neptune like planet: Watch here

Indian scientists have found a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune-sized planet having a radius that is six times that of earth, Isro announced on Friday.

The planet is a little bigger than Neptune but slightly smaller than Saturn. The mass of the planet has been estimated to be around 27 times the mass of the Earth whereas its radius is estimated to be 6 times that of the Earth.

The second dwarf star called K2-240 has two planets nearly twice the size of our planet. It is seven times closer to the star as compared to the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet. Most importantly, the discovery of the new planet can help scientists to fully understand the nature of exoplanets that are too close to their "suns".

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

The PARAS is the first spectrograph of its kind in India.

This latest planet was also first spotted and listed as a candidate planet by Kepler, but it was a team of Indian scientists that confirmed it was a planet, rather than simply a comet or another astronomical object - which is the tricky part. It can measure the mass of a planet revolving around its star. 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. Spectroscopic observations with the ESPRESSO instrument, installed in the Very Large Telescope (VLT), of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), or with future spectrographs in the GTC or in new astronomical facilities, such as the ELT or the TMT, will be crucial to determine the masses, densities and physical properties of these planets.

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According to The Hindu, PARAS will be upgraded with a 2.5 m telescope, and it will be known as PARAS-2.

The quest to find life beyond Earth has led to the discovery of two new planetary systems.

The planet orbits a Sun-like star 600 light-years away. It's very hard to discover an exoplanet because they are usually billions of times fainter than the stars they orbit.

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