Beam me up: UF astronomer discovers planet with Vulcan ties
Beam me up: UF astronomer discovers planet with Vulcan ties
Hey, Spock! Real-Life 'Planet Vulcan' Orbits Sun Featured in 'Star Trek'
21 September, 2018, 15:11
"But you've got to ask yourself - with all the twists and turns of evolutionary history on any planet, how likely is it that a planet 16 light-years away would eventually produce beings that look almost identical to us, except for ears that would challenge any barber?"
Vulcan completes its orbit around HD 26965 every 42 days. Such a short orbital period means that this planet is located very close to its star, making it hot and dry. This is the first such discovery by the Dharma Planet Survey, which is created to hunt down relatively small planets around bright stars in the hope of discovering another habitable home-planet. Then, in 1991, Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry and three astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) confirmed in a letter to Sky & Telescope magazine that 40 Eridani A could indeed work as Vulcan's host star.
Trekkies alert: astronomers have stumbled on the famed planet Vulcan, the home of beloved character Spock and the rest of his species in Star Trek. The discovery marks the project's first detection of a "super-Earth", classified as a planet between two and ten times as massive as our own.
"The orange-tinted HD 26965 is only slightly cooler and slightly less massive than our Sun, is approximately the same age as our Sun, and has a 10.1-year magnetic cycle almost identical to the Sun's 11.6-year sunspot cycle", explained Muterspaugh.
This was first established in 1968 by James Blish's script anthology Star Trek 2 and later affirmed in 1980's Star Trek Maps by Jeff Maynard.
"This star can be seen with the naked eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date", said lead study author Bo Ma, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida.
Since the concept was first presented in 1953, many stars have been shown to have a Goldilocks area, and some of them have one or several planets in this zone, like "Kepler-186f", discovered in 2014. "But", she continues, "it's a planet orbiting the same star and planets often have planet siblings, so I'm excited for more!" "Now everyone can see the 40 Eridani a clear night sky and proudly point to the house of Spock".
And now, Spock's home planet seems realer than ever. "So this exactly what we are thinking about, to locate all the no man's planets around nearby stars that will open up the future for space exploration".
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