Scientists from the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) have discovered an exoplanet that is 725 light years away from us and orbiting an ageing star that has 1.5 times the mass of our Sun, according to the department of space.
The exoplanet is 1.4 times the size of Jupiter and it is orbiting unusually close to a star, completing one orbit in just 3.2 Earth days. Despite being bigger than Jupiter, its mass is 70% that of the solar system’s largest planet.
Exoplanets are planetary bodies that are outside our solar system and they usually orbit a star.
The distance between the newly discovered exoplanet and its star is nearly one-tenth the distance between the Sun and Mercury.
Due to the proximity of the exoplanet to its star, it is extremely hot with surface temperatures reaching up to 2,000 degrees Kelvin (1726.85 degrees Celsius) and an inflated radius with very low density.
Planetary bodies with these features are often referred to as “hot Jupiters”. There are eight such exoplanets known to us, according to a pre-print version of the research paper on arXiv. The paper has been published in the refereed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
“The detection of such systems will contribute to our understanding of mechanisms responsible for inflation in hot Jupiters and also provide an opportunity to understand the evolution of planets around stars,” the paper says.
The exoplanet was discovered using the PRL’s advanced radial-velocity Abu-sky search (PARAS) optical fibre-fed spectrograph on the laboratory’s telescope at its Mt. Abu observatory.
The measurements were carried out between December 2020 and March 2021. Further follow-up measurements were also obtained from Germany’s TCES spectrograph in April this year, and also from independent photometric observations from a 43cm telescope at Mt. Abu.