Scientists have discovered a real-life Vulcan some 16 light years away from Earth.
If that wasn’t curious enough, according to astronomers, the mystery planet orbits a star called HD 26965, which happens to be an ideal host star for an advanced alien civilization.
Furthermore, the newly discovered planet orbits a star that can be seen with the naked eye.
Star Trek fans know the star HD 26965 as 40 Eridani A.
“The new planet is a ‘super-Earth’ orbiting the star HD 26965, which is only 16 light years from Earth, making it the closest super-Earth orbiting another Sun-like star,” says University of Florida (UF) astronomer Jian Ge, leader of the Dharma Planet Survey.
“We may have discovered what may be Star Trek’s famed planet Vulcan. The planet is roughly twice the size of Earth and orbits its star with a 42-day period just inside the star’s optimal habitable zone.”
In the world-renowned Sci Fi series Star Trek, Spock comes from a planet called Vulcan.
Author James Blish puts Vulcan in orbit around a star called 40 Eridani, some 16 light years away from Earth. The planet is described in the Star Trek series as consisting of deserts and mountain ranges, and large areas are set aside as wilderness preserves. It is much hotter, it has a stronger surface gravity, and its atmosphere is thinner than that of Earth.
Now, scientists have discovered that Vulcan exists (sort of) as they have discovered what seems to be its real-life analog.
The newly found exoplanet is believed to be twice the size of Earth and is considered the closest “super-Earth” orbiting a sun-like star.
“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 nearly identical to the Sun’s 11.6-year sunspot cycle,” explains Muterspaugh, who helped to commission the Dharma spectrograph on the TSU 2-meter automatic spectroscopic telescope.
“Therefore, HD 26965 may be an ideal host star for an advanced civilization.”
Spock’s ‘real life’ home planet was discovered thanks to the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope (DEFT), a 50-inch telescope mounted atop Mount Lemmon in southern Arizona. This planet happens to be the very first Super-Earth discovered by the Dharma Survey.
“This star can be seen with the naked eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date,” Bo Ma, a University of Florida postdoctoral student and the paper’s first author, said in a statement. “Now anyone can see 40 Eridani on a clear night and be proud to point to Spock’s home.”