WASHINGTON (Circa) — Astronomers at the University of Florida have discovered an exoplanet orbiting 40 Eridani A. If you recognize that star name you are probably a fan of "Star Trek," and if that's true, you probably know this star as the host of the character Spock's home plant, Vulcan.
"It came as a total surprise to us," University of Florida Professor Jian Ge told NBC News MACH in an email. "We did not have an intention to look for Vulcan orbiting HD 26965."
The exoplanet is twice the size of Earth and is also the closest Earth-like planet orbiting a sunlike star. It sits just inside of the habitable zone, where water in its liquid form could exist, and so could life.
The name of the exoplanet is HD 26965. Ge, however, is planning on contacting the International Astronomical Union, which set forth the kooky naming rules, to ask that the exoplanet's name be formally changed to Vulcan.