Features

Discovery of exoplanets by Lankan Team

20 August 2019 - 683   - 1

For the first time in the island’s history, a group of Sri Lankans has discovered a new extra-solar planetary system (Exoplanets). The team was headed by Mahesh Herath (27), a research scientist at the Astronomy division of the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT) with Saraj Gunesekera, principle research scientist, ACCIMT.


By Yomal Senarath Yapa

For the first time in the island’s history, a group of Sri Lankans have discovered a new extra-solar planetary system (Exoplanets). The team was headed by Mahesh Herath (27), research scientist at the Astronomy division of the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT) with Saraj Gunesekera, principle research scientist, ACCIMT.

Of the two Mr. Herath is working under the guidance of Professor Chandana Jayaratne of the University of Colombo to complete his MPhil degree. 

The exoplanets were discovered using data obtained by the NASA Kepler/K2 mission, which is a spacecraft with a powerful optical telescope. These two planets orbit the star designated as EPIC 212737443.

The smaller of the two planets, named K2-310b, has a radius of 16,500 Km (2.6 times the radius of the Earth) with an equilibrium temperature of 263 degrees centigrade, while the larger second planet, named K2-310c, has a radius of 17,220 Km (2.7 times the radius of the Earth) with an equilibrium temperature of 42 degrees centigrade.     

The sizes of the planets strongly imply that they have atmospheres thicker and larger than that of our Earth, likely composed of elements such as Hydrogen, Helium and perhaps water vapour and Ammonia. There is uncertainty whether these planets are rocky or gaseous due to their existence in a size range that hovers between the generally accepted sizes for both rocky planets and gaseous planets.

With this discovery, Sri Lanka joins a select group of nations with institutions from which exoplanets were discovered, including United States, Canada, Western, Northern and Central European nations, Australia, Japan and China.

The results of this research venture were published in the prestigious Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), and added to the NASA exoplanet archive as well as the Exoplanet Encyclopaedia. 

Pictured below from left : 

Mr. Saraj Gunasekara. Acting Director of Space Technology and Application, Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT) speaks to the media. 
Mr. Mahesh Herath. Research Scientist, Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)
Eng Sanath Panawennage. Director-General and CEO Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)
Prof. Upul Sonnandara. Chairman Board of Governors Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)
Prof. Chandana Jayarathne. Member Board of Governors Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)
Eng. Mrs. Kumari Ediriweera. Deputy Director-General Technical / Operation Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)

(Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara)

  Comments - 1

  • W. Pathirana Thursday, 22 August 2019 06:56 PM

    There were several instances where Sri Lanka found its place among the club of scientifically advanced countries. 1. Overhauling jet engines of Boeing aircraft at BIA, Katunayake. 2. Nishi Uggalla with the highest IQ score of 162/165 among great scientists Einstein and Hawkins each with 160/165. 3. The ICCIMT discovery of the two exoplanets. Wish to take this an opportunity to register my strongest displeasure about the proposal to commence a medical faculty at the University of Moratuwa which has every potential to become a world renowned cutting edge technology center. University of Moratuwa should be an exclusive technology center and rename it as MORATUWA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY after Massechuset Institute of Technology (MIT), US [over 70 Nobel Laureates]. Medical degree craze will pervade in the campus dragging down its thrust on technology. Best wishes for the discovery team!

    Reply : 0       2

    Leave a comment



Top Stories

Two injured in gas cylinder explosion in Dematagoda

Two persons have been hospitalised following what is believed to be a gas cylinder explosion in Mahawila Gardens this morning. According to...

15 September 2019 - Views : 36

Shantha Bandara to fill Dissanayake's vacant seat in Parliament

15 September 2019

SL to ink MoU for ferry service with India

14 September 2019

SLFP suspends membership of five national list MPs

14 September 2019



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

Otara among 25 chosen personalities to name endangered baby gorillas in Rwanda

Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Otara Gunewardene was invited by the Rwandan Government as an honorary guest to name a ...

Environmentalists, conservationists gather for tropical biodiversity conference in Sri Lanka

The 12th Asia-Pacific Chapter Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) got underw...

Shakespeare Drama Competition to get underway this month

The All Island Inter-School Shakespeare Drama Competition is back for the 46th year. The competition is organize...

In Pictures: Annual congregation of the Dawoodi Bohra community

More than 20,000 people attended the annual worldwide Bohra convention being held at a community centre at ...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">