Real-life “Planet Vulcan” discovered by astronomers.
The creators of Star Trek made the decision to base Spock’s home solar system around one that exists in real life- the triple star system that houses primary star 40 Eridani A. The star, also known as Keid or HD26965, has been revealed to possess at least one planet in orbit. The other two stars, Eridani B and C, have been dismissed as possessing any habitable planets due to the environmental hazards posed by the two suns, which include dangerous flares and the sterilization effects of a white dwarf. Eridani A, however, is thought to have a “habitable zone” where it is possible for a planet to support life.
40 Eridani A, The Real-Life Planet Vulcan
Characteristics of 40 Eridani A that are similar to our own sun have given rise to hopes that the planet in question may be host to lifeforms, in whatever shape they come, or at least have the potential to support life. While the planet is not quite in the habitable zone, the possibility of life has not been ruled out yet. It is double the size of Earth and has a much shorter year, lasting only 42 days. Like the planet Vulcan in the hit series Star Trek, the new planet will likely be fairly hot, due to its close proximity to its sun.
The find has been hailed as the first Earth-like planet of its size found by the Dharma Planet Survey, a project that is in the process of detecting and categorizing large Earth-like planets that may be of interest in future exploratory missions.
It is reported that 40 Eridani A was specifically chosen by Gene Roddenberry due to its age and characteristics. At 4 billion years old and the most viable star in the system, Roddenberry felt that it would give Vulcans the time needed to evolve into a functional humanoid race.
The 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.