Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Astronomers Discover Planet Where Vulcan From 'Star Trek' Would Be

Astronomers Discover Planet Where Vulcan From 'Star Trek' Would Be

"Vulcan was connected to 40 Eridani A in the publications "Star Trek 2" by James Blish (Bantam, 1968) and "Star Trek Maps" by Jeff Maynard (Bantam, 1980)", explains Henry.

Sadly, though, the newly detected planet is unlikely to acquire the official "Vulcan" moniker anytime soon.

The world orbits a sunlike star that's a mere 16 light-years away, known as HD 26965 or 40 Eridani A, according to the team behind the Dharma Planet Survey. It was believed to be hotter than earth with a stronger surface gravity.

More recently, a survey titled the Dharma Planet Survey discovered that there is a planet orbiting 40 Eridani.

"It came as a total surprise to us", claimed University of Florida astronomy professor Jian Ge told MACH website. "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", said Ge.

'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'. But, "We prefer the identification of 40 Eridani as Vulcan's sun".

The orange dwarf-star 40 Eridani is 4 billion years old, about the same age as our sun, they went on to say.


'Therefore, HD 26965 may be an ideal host star for an advanced civilization'.

Surprisingly, the TV series seems to have predicted even this. In that letter, he specifically picks out one such star, 40 Eridani. Vulcan's most famous fictional inhabitant, Mr. Spock of "Star Trek" fame, would certainly raise an eyebrow if he heard that astronomers have detected a potentially habitable super-Earth orbiting the star that's associated with him.

In 1991, Roddenberry and three astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics wrote a letter to Sky & Telescope magazine laying out their choice for Vulcan's location, and why.

"Now, anyone can see 40 Eridani on a clear night and be proud to point to Spock's home", said postdoctoral student Bo Ma.

And Star Trek fans everywhere can thank the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope (DEFT), a 50-inch telescope located atop Mt. Lemmon in southern Arizona, for bringing Spock's home to life.

A senior astronomer at the SETI Institute claimed super-Earths "could very well be the sort of world where life could begin", opined Seth Shostak, but quickly added that the notion of Spock-like creatures abounding on the planet would be highly illogical. "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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