- (ASTRONOMY) A hypothetical intra-Mercurian
planet, the existence of which was proposed by the 19th century French
mathematician Urbain Leverrier to
explain anomalies in Mercury's orbit
(now accounted for by the general theory
of relativity). Alleged sightings of Vulcan in 1859 inspired many
astronomers to look for it during the total solar eclipse of 1860. Nothing
was found. In recent years, however, a number of extrasolar
planets have been discovered with orbits much smaller than that
of Mercury. These so-called epistellar
jovians, also known as 51-Pegasi-type planets or "hot Jupiters,"
have forced scientists to reconsider their models of planetary system
formation. See also vulcanoid.
(SF) Homeworld of the Vulcan people
in the Star Trek universe. Vulcan,
a hot, dry planet, is supposed to lie in the 40
Eridani star system, 16 light-years from Earth. Star Trek creator
Gene Roddenberry endorsed 40 Eridani
as Vulcan's sun in a letter published in the July 1991 issue of Sky
& Telescope magazine.
| Star Trek's Vulcan in
the year 2286
OF STAR TREK