Spock’s World Found! Astronomers Discover Actual Planet Vulcan

Real-world astronomers have discovered what could very well be Mr. Spock’s home planet of Vulcan.

The Earth-like planet has been found orbiting in the habitable zone around the star HD 26965, also known as 40 Eridani A, the star considered to be the location of Vulcan in Star Trek. The finding comes from the Dharma Planet Survey in a new study led by University of Florida astronomer Jian Ge and a team including Tennessee State University astronomers Matthew Muterspaugh and Gregory Henry.

Ge describes the new discovery in a statement:

“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. 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.”

Artist rendition of the planet found around 40 Eridani A (University of Florida)

40 Eridani is actually a triple star system with three dwarf stars. 40 Eridani A is considered the primary star of the system. As a smaller star, its habitable zone is closer in than our own.

Comparison of habitable zones of the Sol and 40 Eridani A systems

The official release about the discovery also takes notes of the Star Trek connection:

“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 nearly identical to the Sun’s 11.6-year sunspot cycle,” explains Muterspaugh, who helped to commission the Dharma spectrograph on the TSU 2-meter automatic spectroscopic telescope. “Therefore,” he adds, “HD 26965 may be an ideal host star for an advanced civilization.” “Star Trek fans may know the star HD 26965 by its alternative moniker, 40 Eridani A,” says Henry.

The USS Enterprise orbits Vulcan in the TOS Episode “Amok Time” (Remastered)

Roddenberry deemed 40 Eridani A as Vulcan

40 Eridani A has long been unofficially considered the Vulcan star. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry himself favored the system. It has been the location of Vulcan in both fan-made and officially licensed books, such as Star Trek: Star Charts. 40 Eridani A was also identified as the location of Vulcan in Dianne Duane’s 1988 Star Trek novel Spock’s World.

Star Trek: Star Charts book identified 40 Eridani A as Vulcan on the cover and inside

For more about the discovery, read the full report at ufl.edu.

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Legate Damar

Neat

Markm

if they manage to directly image the planet and it doesn’t look right. You can bet the Discovery producers will get blamed for revising history again . ;-)

JAGT

Yeah, beware the wrath of fans if its sky doesn’t turn out to be red or orange!
Oh no, wait. The smart vfx artists on DISCO actually solved that apparent inconsistency by having the sky be blue (as in ST09) but also featuring something that looks like red polar lights (i.e. atmospheric phenomena that might tinge the sky red at certain times) – I loved that little detail.

Awesomesauce

It looks like the majority of fans who don’t outright hate Discobery is here on Trekmovie. Youtube is just full of “true”, “hardcore” Trek fans, who just sprade heat.

Alex

Youtube is a sinkhole of internet trolls, fake accounts and self-absorbed dimwits. It’s the last place you should look for fans of *anything*. Actually, I think it’s a social media thing in general. Ten years ago, we still had something resembling actual conversations on message boards, but social media replaced that with comments sections where everyone is just shouting their pointless opinions into the void. This place is somewhat different as it attracts people who actually look for news, instead of people casually scrolling by and hating everything they see.

Michael Hall

Nicely put.

JAGT

Yeah, YouTube is the place where I look for music videos, ‘let’s plays’ and cake baking tutorials. ESPECIALLY cake baking tutorials.

Michael Hall

Yeah, that opening shot on Vulcan (and the subsequent flashback scenes) were very nicely done IMO, and I hated the way Trek 2009 arbitrarily turned the sky blue. No objections here at all.

Tiger2

Just as long as no one ever finds the Borg planet!

Garth Lorca

The Borg were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. And they have a plan…

Viper Pilot

Frakking ̶C̶y̶l̶o̶n̶s̶ Borg.

Captain Robert April

lol :)

Phil

In your eye, Star Wars!

Captain Hackett

Welp! They are about to make the first contact with us!

Chancellor Gowron

We,ve still got 45 years.

Curious Cadet

Chancellor, we’re definitely headed in the right direction for WWIII

Garth Lorca

The sad thing is that WWIII is a must-happen if we want that Star Trek future to arrive. The post-nuclear horror is part of the deal…always has been Trek lore.

Phil

So were the Eugenics Wars. I’ll pass.

Disinvited

Phil,

If it gives Trek bragging rights on Musk’s hyperloop, I suppose I could be persuaded to grudgingly accept GENESIS II’S subsumption into TNG’s history…

Alex

Should we just wait for them to come? I mean, they still got 45 years to go. If we develop a spaceship that goes 1/3 of light speed, we could be there in 2063. And we’d be the ones making first contact. We could rub that ‘too primitive, not interested, just passing by, basically not giving a shit about them’ talk in their emotionless faces…

Danpaine

Seriously, do we really deserve it? If there are any highly-evolved species out there peering in on our doings, I have to think they’re just shaking their heads and saying “what a sh*tshow…”

Phil

Vulcan to Earth: Our AI will call your AI in the morning…..

The vast majority of ‘exploring strange new worlds’ is going to come from probes and the machines talking to each other. Makes for boring TV, but AI will be doing all the ‘boldly going’ heavy lifting…..

Corylea

Time to go change my name to “Amanda Grayson.” :-)

Disinvited

Corylea,

I certainly hope that means you are a Sarek fan…?

Corylea

Actually, I’m a Spock fan, but I’m too old to be his wife, so I’d settle for being his mother. ;-)

Dawn Donelson

Since they only know its there by the stars wabble and is estimated to be twice the size of earth, why not two earth sized planets in orbit…one being Vulcan the otjrt being T’Kut in co orbit. Just saying

Thorny

The wobble would be different. Planets don’t orbit stars in lockstep with each other.

Chauffeur

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) is far too tall to come from a planet that has more gravity than earth.

Corylea

Spock is much stronger than humans, which is quite likely to have been caused by higher gravity

Disinvited

Corylea,

Not to mention hybrid vigor and whatever other genetic research (Khan’s Eugenics?) used to make his unlikely embryo viable.

Disinvited

Chauffeur,

Then it’s a good thing for his height that he was a hybrid and his mother was from Earth?

FLB

My favourite Trek novel, by quite a margin.

Hell hath no fury like T’Pring.

Yeah, good book.

navamske

Mel Brooks version of Star Trek: “T’Pringtime for Hitler”

Disinvited

Are those the only two that T’Pring to mind?

Michael Hall

Why are my comments on this story being moderated? Very frustrating.

Andrew SD

The seven year old boy in me that desperately wanted to believe that Star Trek is real is completely delighted by this report. You know all the real science connections that Star Trek has never ceases to amaze me.

Just Another Salt Vampire

It is cool when this site covers real science. Kayla’s science column is much missed.

Hey, Staff … 40 Eridani A has been the popular star for Vulcan since *1975* (not “the ’80s”) when it was ID’d as Vulcan’s star in the fan-driven/pro-printed TECHNICAL MANUAL (TOS).. picked up from the Blish novelization of “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”, likely from an early draft script. That, and overwhelming fan embrace (aside from the obstinate Omicron Eridani, just to be different as with many other concepts, as “officially licensed”) in SPACEFLIGHT CHRONOLOGY … all of that LED to GR’s agreement, Geof Mandel’s onscreen use, and Enterprise’s eventual embrace (finally).

But it goes back to at least 1975 as a “second use” picked up, if not further.

Michael Hall

LarryN75,

It was actually first mentioned in 1968, in the second collection of adapted Trek episodes.

Olaf

Fascinating!