ISRO’s PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet

Scientists Discover New Planet'EPIC 211945201 600 Light Years Away at Mount Abu Observatory

A group of scientists working in the Physical research laboratory of Ahmedabad (PRL) has discovered a new planet. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced this discovery on Friday and has also given insight into this important discovery. The PRL Advance Radial-Velocity Abu-Sky Search (PARAS), India's first telescope designed specifically to make infrared observations, stumbled upon the exoplanet after NASA's K2, a space observatory, picked up an anomaly in the brightness of one of the stars on its radar.

The detailed report of ISRO shows that the mass of this sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet is 27 times the mass of the Earth. "It's closer to Neptune", he said.

Both the planet and the star, which have been located about 600 light years away from Earth, have been named EPIC. The gravitational pull by any planet caused its sun-like stars to wobble around their common center of mass.

The second red dwarf star that was detected with a new planetary system is K2-240, and this particular star features two large planets that are double the size of Earth. The planet's environment is not suitable to support any kind of life forms, however, its size and mass are what holds the importance.

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. Also, they are extremely far away.

With the new planet's calculated orbit around its sun-like star, it is estimated that a year on this planet ends in about 19.5 days. "Very few such spectrographs exist around the world (mostly in the US and in the Europe) that can do such precise measurements", the space agency said on its website late on June 8.

Based on the planet's physical properties, calculations suggested that heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron comprise 60 to 70 percent of its total mass. This planet revolves around a Sun-like start in its solar system.

The scientists added that the temperature of the planet was roughly 600 degrees Celsius due to its proximity to its host star.