Indian Space Agency Discovers Massive Exoplanet Where Years Last Just 19 Days

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 - 1:20PM
Astronomy
Space
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 - 1:20PM
Indian Space Agency Discovers Massive Exoplanet Where Years Last Just 19 Days
< >
Image Credit: Outer Places composite based on information by Indian Space Research Organisation
600 light years from Earth lies EPIC 211945201b, a planet roughly 27 times more massive than Earth, that orbits its star so closely (seven times closer than the distance between the Earth and the Sun) that its "year" only lasts 19.5 days. It's the first exoplanet confirmed by an Indian team, and it joins the almost 3,800 other exoplanets discovered so far. The research was led by Abhijit Chakraborty, who belongs to the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, India.

EPIC 211945201b is estimated to have a radius around six times larger than Earth, and its surface temperature is predicted to be very, very hot – around 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 F). Because of the intense heat (and potential exposure to radiation), it's unlikely that any kind of life lives on EPIC 211945201b.



The confirmation of the planet, also known as K2-236, comes after the record-breaking discovery of 80 new exoplanets by NASA's K2 Mission, as well as new research outlining how humans might travel to Proxima Centauri b, one of the closest known exoplanets (though it would still take multiple lifetimes).

Though KS-236 may not be habitable, NASA has made major headway exploring the TRAPPIST-1 system, a red dwarf star orbited by several rocky, Earth-sized planets. This past February, NASA announced that the Hubble telescope was probing four of the planets to see if their atmospheres might support life, and remarked that the discovery of the system is a rare opportunity to study Earth-like alien worlds. According to Hannah Wakeford, one of the scientists involved in the research:

Opening quote
"No one ever would have expected to find a system like this. They've all experienced the same stellar history because they orbit the same star. It's a goldmine for the characterization of Earth-sized worlds."
Closing quote


As the number of confirmed exoplanets grows, hopefully we'll find at least a handful that can earn the name "Earth 2." Or, you know, something more creative.

Science
Science News
Astronomy
Space
No