Real-life Planet Vulcan orbiting ‘Star Trek’ sun & could host life

20 Septembre, 2018, 06:53 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Although not mentioned in the original TV series or later feature films, a number of stars had been put forward by Trekkies as the likely locale of Vulcan. The planet is eight times the mass of Earth and likely too-hot to support human or even Vulcan life. "Spock served on the starship Enterprise, whose mission was to seek out unusual new worlds, a mission shared by the Dharma Planet Survey".

The new research is described in a paper posted to the preprint server arXiv.org on July 18 and scheduled for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society next month. "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".

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. Its star's characteristics are also similar to our Sun and are such that they could be conducive to the existence of life.

"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.

'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, ' says Tennessee State University (TSU) astronomer Matthew Muterspaugh. Among Star Trek fans, this star continued to be associated with Vulcan in the decades afterwards.

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Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was visionary in many ways: The Enterprise crew's communicators presaged today's smartphones, Bones's sickbay mirrored in modern medical scanners, and, well, we're still working on that transporter.

In the current Star Trek canon, 40 Eridani A is the star that harbors Spock's home planet. The new find is also the first so-called super-Earth discovered by the Dharma Planet Survey, which is created to hunt down relatively small planets around relatively bright stars.

The artists image of a Super Earth planet 55 Cancri e at the top of the page is part of a multiplanet system that was first detected in 1997.

"This star can be seen with the naked eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date", Bo Ma, lead author of the new research and an astronomer at the University of Florida, said in a statement. And now, a team of scientists has said that the star really does host at least one planet.

"This discovery demonstrates that fully dedicated telescopes conducting high-cadence, high-precision radial velocity observations in the near future will continue to play a key role in the discovery of more super-Earths and even Earth-like planets in the habitable zones around nearby stars", concluded Ge. Live long and prosper, we say.

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