Planet Vulcan – The 19th Century’s Forgotten Planet And What It Had To Do With Einstein

Planet Vulcan – The 19th Century’s Forgotten Planet And What It Had To Do With Einstein

In 1846, Urbain Le Verrier, a reputable astronomer and mathematician, tried to find a planet that had never been observed by humans before.

Uranus manifested unexpected movement patterns, as predicted by the Newtonian gravity theory.

There was a slight difference between the observed orbit of Uranus, and the trajector Newtonian physics predicted its orbit to be.

In July, the scientist suggested that the difference may be explained via another planet beyond Uranus.

The task of actually finding the planet was left to Johann Gottfried Galle, a German astronomer.

On September 23, 1846, Galle analyzed the spot where Le Verrier predicted the planet would be and discovered the planet Neptune within one degree of that point.

Le Verrier was requested to analyze the situation, as a new planet was discovered by looking at the orbit of another.

They then looked at Mercury, which is very tough to observe as it is so close to the Sun. Le Verrier had to plot its orbit using Newtonian physics.

Newtonian physics say that planets revolve around the Sun in elliptical orbits, but observations suggested that Mercury’s wobbling orbit was affected by other known planets.

He again speculated that the planet’s orbit was affected by another planet.

Le Verrier concluded that the mysterious planet would revolve around the Sun two to four times each year to cut the chase.

The planet, known as Vulcan, made the headlines for quite a while.

Einstein came with his theory that predicted Mercury’s path without any additional planets being implied. The theory put gravity as a result of the curvature of spacetime due to massive objects.

And that was the end of Vulcan, the mysterious planet that never showed up!


I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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