One of the things that made the Star Trek series great was the variety of characters and planets.
The Dharma Planet Survey has published a new American-lead study that brings fiction a bit closer to reality as astronomers may have stumbled upon the iconic planet Vulcan.
The new planet is classified as a super-Earth type, as its size is twice the size of Earth. It is the closest super-Earth planet found, being situated at approximately 16 light-years from the Blue Planet. It spends 43 days of its orbit in the habitable zone of its star so life may be found on its surface.
The star it orbits, HD26965, shares some characteristics with our Sun as researchers think it has the same age. It is a bit smaller and cooler, but its 10.1-year magnetic cycle is similar to our own solar cycle. Star Trek fans may think of it as the Eridani A, according to some of the researchers. Vulcan was linked to Eridani A in officially printed material such as Star Trek 2 by James Blish. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, has formally acknowledged that Vulcan orbits Eridani A in a letter sent to magazine in 1991. It is noted in the letter that the Eridani 40 star system is composed of one main star and two companions smaller stars. Vulcan orbits the major stars and the other ones are visible on the sky and shine beautifully.
In the original Star Trek series, Vulcan is identified as the origin planet of Science Officer Spock.
The planet was identified using the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope, located on the top of Mount Lemmon in Arizona. It is the first super-Earth planet identified by the Dharma Survey initiative.
The star can be freely observed with the naked eye, so curious Star Trek fans do not need specialized equipment in order to observe it. The Dharma Survey will continue its work, hoping to find new and interesting worlds.
Nicole Hicks a graduate of UFT. She’s based in Toronto but travels much of the year. Nicole has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN Money, and the Huffington Post. Nicole is a financial reporter, focusing on technology, national security, and policing.