Star Trek fans got the thrill of a lifetime recently when scientists discovered an exoplanet in the exact location of the fictional planet Vulcan, home of the legendary and iconic Mr. Spock, everyone’s favorite half-human/half-Vulcan Star Trek character.
At some point, in the more recent decades of the sci-fi franchise’s more than 50-year run, the creators of Star Trek began associating the fictional planet Vulcan with a real star called 40 Eridani A (also known as HD 26965), some 16 light-years away. And that’s where scientists discovered this new planet with the help of the Dharma Planet Survey (DPS), which is designed to hunt down relatively small planets around relatively bright stars, according to Live Science.
The findings, which were the first “super-Earth” discovery made by DPS, and which uses a very high-resolution optical spectrograph, will be published next month in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Twitter users had very Spockian reactions:
GUYS WAIT WHOA WHOA WHOA.— Dr. Jessie Christiansen (@aussiastronomer) September 18, 2018
I did not realise at the time because they published the star under a different name, but WE FOUND A PLANET AROUND 40 ERIDANI A.
THAT'S WHERE SPOCK IS FROM. VULCAN ORBITS 40 ERIDANI A.
Sounds very interesting.. pic.twitter.com/idXcfgbvA6— Own Your Masters (@ThaArchitect) September 20, 2018
Some were in a state of disbelief:
Ok this can't be real...— joe barton (@joebart33900416) September 20, 2018
If you think about it, it is logical.— Renew Timeless ??#SaveTimeless (@RenewTimeless) September 20, 2018
Spock’s nephew wasn’t surprised:
I knew it— Spock's Nephew (@NephewSpock) September 20, 2018
Yes gene Roddenberry did not write star trak he was told about it by Spock— john doe jones (@itmatters121) September 20, 2018
The name of the newly discovered planet was of utmost concern:
So.... we're gonna call it "Vulcan" right?— Yeshua Espaillat (@vVvZero) September 20, 2018
So can we...can we just call it Vulcan?— Starling (@thx4alldafish) September 20, 2018
Looking for the official petition for that now— KW (@weeks_kk) September 20, 2018
We should send politicians there because only the truth is allowed on that planet. #Thatisall— Aaron P Mulvey (@apmulvey) September 20, 2018
Alas, neither Leonard Nimoy, who first portrayed the beloved character, nor series creator Gene Roddenberry are still with us to offer their thoughts on the discovery.
Let’s just hope scientists don’t discover the equivalent of real-life Klingons next.