All of my Star Trek fans listen up!! Do you all remember when Gene Roddenberry wrote a letter to sky & telescope magazine in 1991 about a prediction he made that there’s an intelligent civilization residing on a planet orbiting 40 Eridani A. He wrote this letter with 3 other scientists from the Harvard center for astrophysics and said “we think this star is where an intelligent civilization may reside on a planet orbiting it..” The star 40 Eridani A is, found 16 light-years from Earth in the Constellation Eridanus. He went on to create a triple star system in the Star Trek series with the same name, 40 Eridani A. In that star system is the planet Vulcan. And guess what?! There was recently an exoplanet discovered there! And it is considered to be a super earth, which is an exoplanet much larger than earth, with a strong gravity.
It was discovered using the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope, a 50-inch telescope on Mount Lemmon in southern Arizona. This exoplanet orbits closely to its star, and in the habitable zone. This star, 40 Eridani A, also catalogued as HD 26965 is about 4 billion years old, which is around the same age as our Sun (4.6 billion years). So far, looking quite promising for the potentiality of habitability. However, this is where it gets tough, this planet is tidally locked to its star. Meaning one side of this planet is facing towards the star and the other away. With tidally locked planets there are a lot of dilemmas when it comes to any chance of life existing.
One side will be dark, cold and very dry if there is any atmosphere. And the other side, will be bright, hot and likely any atmosphere would have evaporated. However, it is possible that if an atmosphere exists it can move frequently from the light to dark sides of the planet causing major storms, climate changes and extreme tidal forces and conditions. I’m talkin, major tsunames, typoons, hurricanes.. you name it. To read more on tidally locked planets ready about the other recent exoplanet discovery here on Gliese 581 c.
Back to 40 Eridani A, many Star Trek fans are trying to get it officially named Vulcan since it seems to have a lot in common with the Vulcan planet from Star Trek, especially that cool dry atmosphere, but as for any Vulcans roaming the planet… maybe not this time.