Science & Tech

Exoplanet TOI 4603b discovered by India

  • An multinational team of scientists from the Exoplanet Research Group of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has identified a new Jupiter-size exoplanet with the highest density yet discovered.
  • Exoplanets having masses higher than four times that of Jupiter are classified as massive giants.

TOI4603b Exoplanet Information

  • The exoplanet is discovered in the vicinity of the star TOI4603 or HD 245134.
  • Its mass is 13 times that of Jupiter, and its density is around 14 g/cm3.
  • TOI4603 was initially identified as a likely candidate to contain a secondary body of unknown nature by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
  • Scientists identified the secondary body as a planet using PARAS, and it was designated TOI 4603b or HD 245134b.
  • The exoplanet is 731 light years away and revolves around the sub-giant F-type star TOI4603 every 7.24 days.

Extreme Density and Proximity

  • TOI 4603b is one of the largest and densest gigantic planets ever identified.
  • It orbits its host star at a distance of less than one-tenth that of our Sun and Earth.
  • Comparisons of the TOI-4603 star-planet system to the Sun-Mercury and Sun-Jupiter systems show TOI-4603 b’s close proximity to its star.
  • The exoplanet orbits its star more than 50 times closer than Jupiter orbits the Sun.
  • TOI-4603b has 13 times the mass of Jupiter.

Indigenous Technology Application

  • The finding of this giant exoplanet was made with the indigenously developed PRL Advanced Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search spectrograph (PARAS) at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mt. Abu’s 1.2 m telescope.
  • The planet’s mass was carefully measured using PARAS.

The Discovery’s Distinctiveness

  • With masses ranging from 11 to 16 times that of Jupiter, the planet falls into the transition mass range of huge giant planets and low-mass brown dwarfs.
  • Only five exoplanets in this mass range are currently known.
  • Because such findings are uncommon, this discovery is significant.

Formation and Evolution Insights

  • The exoplanet’s surface temperature is 1670 K, and it is most likely undergoing high-eccentricity tidal migration with an eccentricity value of about 0.3.
  • The discovery of such systems gives important information about the genesis, migration, and evolution mechanisms of giant exoplanets.

India’s Role in Exoplanet Discoveries

  • This is India and the PRL scientists’ third exoplanet finding utilising the PARAS spectrograph and the PRL 1.2m telescope.
  • K2-236b was discovered in 2018 and TOI-1789b will be discovered in 2021. 
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