Physical Research Laboratory discovered a sub-Saturn size planet

PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, (PHOTO CREDIT: ISRO)

What: EPIC 211945201b planet

Who: Physical Research Laboratory

How: By PARAS spectrograph

  • Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has discovered a sub-Saturn or super-neputune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. 
  • The Research work has appeared online in Astronomical Journal of the American Astronomical Society and published by IOP publishing (the DOI of the article is 10.3847/1538-3881 /aac436).
  • The discovery was made by a team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty after 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system.
  • Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements.

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