June 24, 2024

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Scientists just used cold hard logic to disprove the existence of Spock’s Homeworld IRL

Scientists just used cold hard logic to disprove the existence of Spock’s Homeworld IRL

In an ironic development, a team of scientists used cold hard logic to disprove the existence of a planet that was suspected to be orbiting a real-world star that hosts the fictional planet Vulcan in the Star Trek universe.

Back in 2018, A team of astronomers has announced that they have found evidence of a distant “super-Earth” orbiting the largest stellar body in the triple star system 40 Eridani. The discovery sparked a wave of excitement in the Star Trek community due to the fact that this burning ball of gas — fancifully named 40 Eridani A — happens to be the same star around which the Star homeworld of Vulcan orbits. Journey traditions.

Evidence of the planet’s existence came in the form of subtle periodic shifts in the star’s optical signature, which could indicate a fluctuation in its path caused by the gravitational influence of a hidden planet orbiting it. Based on their observations, the astronomers estimated that Vulcan’s real-world counterpart would likely orbit its star once every 42 days, and have a mass somewhere between that of Neptune and Earth.

However, a recent study published in Astronomical magazine he have He doubted the existence of the imaginary planet By suggesting that the strange light fluctuations at the heart of the 2018 research were actually caused by a scintillation on the surface of the distant star caused by localized stellar activity.

In the new study, scientists observed 40 Eridani A. with NEID tool It was mounted on WIYN’s 3.5-meter telescopes located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. Using NEID, astronomers can observe the precise motions of the star, while measuring shifts in radial velocity that occur at just one kilometer per hour, several light-years from Earth.

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The NEID data revealed that the unusual periodic shift in starlight was likely due to surface sunspot activity and the movement of material through the layers of the stellar body through convection, rather than the traction effect of an orbiting planet.

While the news may be disappointing, Star Trek fans can find a silver lining in knowing that the next generation of deep space planet-hunting technology will help discover countless exotic new worlds, due to its increased accuracy compared to the original series’ exoplanets. Tracking tools. In the meantime, read about connectivity issues that could be an enemy to human travelers in the distant future, traveling at relativistic speeds while exploring the final frontier.

Thumbnail credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video game news for IGN. He has over eight years of experience covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and has absolutely no time to fool you. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer