The similarities mean Eridani may just be the "ideal host star for an advanced civilization", according to Matt Muterspaugh, an astronomer at Tennessee State University and a co-author on the new research. Vulcan, of course, is home to Mr. Spock, a character made famous by the late actor Leonard Nimoy in the "Star Trek" series.
"The orange-tinted HD 26965 [40 Eridani A] is only slightly cooler and slightly less massive than our Sun, is approximately the same age as our Sun, and has a 10.1-year magnetic cycle almost identical to the Sun's 11.6-year sunspot cycle", said astronomer Matthew Muterspaugh of Tennessee State University. "The new planet is a "super-Earth" orbiting the star HD 26965, which is only 16 light years from Earth, making it the closest super-Earth orbiting another Sun-like star", said Ge.
"If you watch the movie 'Interstellar, ' or some other movies, people talk about in the future space travel, they all talk about like maybe 30 or 40 years you can travel to another system", Ge said.
"But you've got to ask yourself - with all the twists and turns of evolutionary history on any planet, how likely is it that a planet 16 light-years away would eventually produce beings that look almost identical to us, except for ears that would challenge any barber?" "The planet is roughly twice the size of Earth and orbits its star with a 42-day period just inside the star's optimal habitable zone".
Surprisingly, the TV series seems to have predicted even this.
Astronomers have discovered an analogue of the planet Vulcan from "Star trek" far beyond the Solar system. Vulcan orbits the primary star, and the two companion stars "would gleam brilliantly in the Vulcan sky", they wrote in their 1991 letter.
This star can be seen with the unaided eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date.
To Trekkies, the orange-tinged star that is only 16 light-years away from Earth is connected to Spock's home planet, Vulcan.
The letter had argued that 40 Eridani A was a likely candidate for serving as Vulcan's star due to its estimated age of 4 billion years. On the show, Vulcan's star was also described in a way that oddly coincides with HD 26965 qualities although it had been given another name.
As a "Star Trek" fan, Ge found the Vulcan connection interesting. "This planet is nearly two times more Land and makes a full revolution around its star in 42 days, in the optimum point of the habitable zone".
Bottom line: Astronomers have found a planet in the habitable zone of 40 Eridani A, which many Star Trek fans identified as the home star of Mr. Spock. Live long and prosper, we say.