Vulcan Vanished: New Study Reveals Star Trek Planet Doesn’t Exist, But Unveils Surprising Twist

Phoenix, Arizona – New research challenges the existence of a planet known as Vulcan, previously thought to orbit the star 40 Eridani A. Instead, scientists attribute the detected signals to the star’s surface activity.

Originally believed to be a planet situated in the same system as Mr. Spock’s fictional home planet Vulcan from the “Star Trek” universe, recent studies published in The Astronomical Journal reveal that what was thought to be a planet could be an illusion caused by the star’s own pulsations and movements.

The initial excitement surrounding the potential discovery of Vulcan back in 2018 has now been met with doubts, as precision measurements using NASA-NSF instruments at Kitt Peak in Arizona seem to confirm that the planet is more of a concept from science fiction rather than a reality.

Two primary methods for detecting exoplanets, planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, have been instrumental in the search for new worlds. The transit method, which involves observing the dimming of a star’s light as a planet passes in front of it, has led to most detections. Meanwhile, the radial velocity method, which tracks shifts in starlight caused by a planet’s gravitational pull, has also contributed significantly to exoplanet discoveries.

Although the original potential discovery of planet HD 26965 b, also known as Vulcan, excited many, the latest analysis using high-precision radial velocity measurements suggests that the caution expressed by researchers was warranted. The instrument NEID at Kitt Peak National Observatory has played a key role in clarifying doubts surrounding the existence of Vulcan.

While the news of Vulcan’s non-existence may disappoint “Star Trek” fans, the refined radial velocity measurements offer hope for improved methods in differentiating between actual planets and surface disturbances on distant stars. The newfound clarity from this research may pave the way for more accurate future discoveries in the field of astronomy.