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View Full Version : Vulcan Anniversary March 26th



Dan Luna
2004-Mar-25, 06:03 PM
Friday March 26th -

"First sighting of Vulcan, a planet thought to orbit inside Mercury, 1859" :blink:

DippyHippy
2004-Mar-26, 10:16 PM
I remember reading about this as a kid... I was quite disappointed to learn it had only been seen a few times and that there was no evidence to show it actually exists...

damienpaul
2004-Mar-26, 10:39 PM
is it at all possible for a planet like Vulcan to exist?

DippyHippy
2004-Mar-26, 11:18 PM
Wellllllllllllllll... I don't know about the scientific arguments about it, but apparently with all the solar research and the space probe thingys we've launched, we would have seen it by now.

Peter Canuck
2004-Mar-27, 04:13 AM
I am guessing that many scientists have checked out the possibility that 'Vulcan' was a random piece of space rock that simply wandered into that section of space.

If that has been ruled out, I wonder what they 'saw' so many years ago.

Does anyone have any links to descriptions of the sighting(s).

antoniseb
2004-Mar-27, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by damienpaul@Mar 26 2004, 10:39 PM
is it at all possible for a planet like Vulcan to exist?
Is it possible? Yes. Many of the exo-planets discovered so far orbit more closely than Mercury orbits the sun. There are some serious constraints on the possible size of such a planet or planetoid currently being in OUR solar system. The observations of SOHO are the most obvious source of these constraints. Vulcan's diameter would have to be much smaller than Pluto's.

damienpaul
2004-Mar-27, 01:49 PM
But if it were too small, would it not be 'gobbled' up by the sun? lose ground and fall into the sun?

Planetwatcher
2004-Mar-27, 07:02 PM
But if it were too small, would it not be 'gobbled' up by the sun? lose ground and fall into the sun? Not if the planets speed as it orbited the Sun was fast enough. That is why Mercury stays in orbit.
In mythology Mercury was the god of speed.

Among the exo-planets found so far, some of them are as close as 5 to 10 million miles from their parent star. They are often refered to as roasters. Mercury is roughly 36 million miles from our Sun.

Spacemad
2004-Mar-27, 09:34 PM
B) Wow, thatīs really close! If Vulcan were to exist it would be the place where Hell would be located Iīm sure!!! What a roasting it would take! If it orbited the Sun so closely perhaps the Sunīs glare would make it almost invisible to see! But then how was it visible in 1859? Could it be a case of mistaken identity like the Martian Canals! Or could it be a case of "sunspots" before the eyes? :P

DippyHippy
2004-Mar-27, 10:21 PM
I'm not sure, but I think someone reported witnessing a transit of Vulcan... I have the Guinness Book of Records for astronomy at home... I'll try to look it up because it's mentioned in there.

antoniseb
2004-Mar-27, 10:25 PM
Originally posted by Spacemad@Mar 27 2004, 09:34 PM
If Vulcan were to exist it would be the place where Hell would be located Iīm sure!!! What a roasting it would take! If it orbited the Sun so closely perhaps the Sunīs glare would make it almost invisible to see!
If Vulcan were a sphere of pure iron 100 km in diameter and orbiting 5 million km from the sun's center, I think it would be a ball of liquid iron with a crust a few feet thick of glowing hot solid Iron on the backside.

It's surface would reflect about a megawatt of light per square meter, making it have a visual magnitude of about zero. This would show up pretty brightly in the SOHO images.

It would also have a very detectable influence on the magnetic field of the sun.

TheThorn
2004-Mar-28, 01:51 AM
Those observations were probably wishful thinking, like Spacemad compared to the Martian Canals.

Le Verrier predicted the existence of a planet inside the orbit of Mercury due to some discrepancies in Mercury's orbit in 1859. Since he had previously correctly predicted the existence of Neptune by analyzing perturbations in Uranus's orbit, apparently a lot of people took him seriously and started looking for it.

But it's hard to observe that close to the sun. During total eclipses they mistook stars for Vulcan. At other times they mistook sunspots for transits of Vulcan. At one point they had to postulate two planets to try to match the observations.

We now know that those discrepancies were caused by inaccuracies in Newton's theory of gravity that Einstein corrected with General Relativity. No extra planet required.

But, Vulcan has been discovered, circling Epsilon Eridani. It's where Spock came from. ;) See This Story (http://www.spacekids.com/spacenews/vulcan_000808.html) for the details.

Spacemad
2004-Mar-28, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by TheThorn@Mar 28 2004, 01:51 AM

But, Vulcan has been discovered, circling Epsilon Eridani. It's where Spock came from. ;) See This Story (http://www.spacekids.com/spacenews/vulcan_000808.html) for the details.


I see you've given away the location of Spock's homeworld, Vulcan! Now everyone will want to visit it! :P (with me at the top of the list! :P ) Anybody else want to come along for the ride? Iīm sure Tom2Mars would provide us with a ship. :P

zephyr46
2004-Mar-29, 01:56 AM
I'm there Space mad!

The minor planet center usally has a couple of objects orbiting with mercuries orbit. Being a 2d low res plot though its hard to know what where and how big anything on it is.

MPC (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/InnerPlot2.html)

I none of them stay in there long though.

Spacemad
2004-Mar-29, 09:48 PM
:P Welcome aboard, Zephyr, but where's your pic. in Rogue's Gallery? How am I supposed to recognise you?

What about that ship, Tom? Havenīt you found the rest of the passengers yet? Must we really wait another 10 years? :P

Algenon the mouse
2004-Mar-30, 01:57 AM
He must plan on taking them to vulcan. I understood that asteriods were mistook for Vulcan and that no planet could mathematical exsist there because of the gravity of the sun.