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Earth-sized Planets Discovered in Planetary System

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Scientists did not directly observe the planet but monitored the changes in the wavelength of light emitting from the star to deduce the presence of another body in its star system

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.

EPIC 211945201b's mass is around 27 times that of Earth's and it's estimated to be around six times greater in radius. One revolution around the sun planets do six and 20 days. Researchers at the Indian Lab have discovered an exoplanet (a planet outside our solar system), larger than Neptune but smaller than Saturn, around 600 light years away from Earth.

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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. The discovery of the new planet was made by calculating the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph that is integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. It has the name EPIC 211945201 (K2-236) and thus, the planet has been given the name EPIC 211945201B (K2-236B).

Based on the mass and radius, model-dependent calculations suggest that the heavy elements, like ice, silicates, and iron content is 60 to 70% of the total mass. Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets, using the transit method or tiny dips in the brightness of a star when a planet crosses in front of it. These type of spectrographs exist mostly in the US and in the Europe that can do such precise measurements. It is expected to be launched in 2020. This discovery is the first of its type that occurred on the Indian territory, placing the Asian country on the very selective list of the countries that discovered far-distant worlds. 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.

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