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Space & Astronomy

Spock's real-life home planet is not what it seems, new study finds

By T.K. Randall
June 1, 2024 · Comment icon 3 comments
Mr Spock.
The planet's existence is most illogical. Image Credit: PD 1966 / NBC
A planet thought to be the real-life equivalent of Spock's homeworld Vulcan might not actually exist after all.
Situated a mere 16 light years away, the planet, which was thought to be twice the size of the Earth, was discovered 6 years ago in orbit around a star known as 40 Eridani A which also happens to have strong ties to the popular science fiction franchise.

Its significance stems from the work of British author James Blish who in 1968 declared in his book Star Trek 2 that 40 Eridani A is the star around which the planet Vulcan orbits.

Legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry later doubled down on this idea in the 1990s when he wrote that the Erdiani system would be the ideal place for Spock's homeworld.
Now, though, the mere existence of this real-life planet Vulcan has been called into serious doubt thanks to new data recorded by astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Many extrasolar worlds are discovered by looking out for the telltale 'wobble' of the host star caused by the gravitational tug of the planet as it orbits around it, as was the case with Eridani A.

By taking much more precise measurements than were possible back at the time of its discovery, however, astronomers have now been able to show that - in this particular instance - the apparent 'wobble' indicative of a planet is more likely to simply be the star itself flickering.

This means that, sadly, this real-life counterpart of Spock's homeworld probably doesn't actually exist.

Source: Independent | Comments (3)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ell 15 days ago
It was one of them radial velocity hypotheticals. I have known from the just about first that those do not exist.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 14 days ago
I wondered how long it would be before you arrived with more of your nonsense. In fact this is not evidence that you are right, it is evidence that you don't know what you are talking about. It is evidence that the scientific method works. Scientists don't just make a claim and then fail to provide evidence to back it up (something you do... you have never produced a  single scrap of evidence to support your claims... nor will you be able to as they make no sense). The fact that astronomers have continued to collect data, and eliminated a planet which does not exist is a testament to the self... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Ell 14 days ago
323 + 31 = 354. Where are the other 456 - 354 = 102? The article does not state how these 31 confirmed planets were confirmed. About half of them have periods up to 90 days; I wonder how those could be directly imaged? Not, I think. That causes me to wonder whether any of the other half of these allegedly confirmed 'planets' were directly imaged? Ten of the 31 have orbital eccentricities comparable to and in nearly all cases much larger than that of Mercury; which is highly suspicious.   All I know is that the other 456 - 31 = 425 alleged exoplanets are repeating phenomena. According to my hy... [More]

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