Friday, January 27, 2023

Volcano, the planet between Mercury and the Sun

invention of Telescope allowed crowd of new searches Astronomical. without going ahead, Galileo Galilei Discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter with one of the first telescopes in history. Over decades and then centuries, these instruments evolved and their internal mechanisms were perfected until they allowed us to observe objects that we had never even suspected existed.

Thus, during the 17th and 18th centuries, numerous new moons were discovered around Jupiter and Saturn. Galaxies and Nebulae And also a new planet, Uranus, in 1781. The 19th century saw this whole series of discoveries multiply. It started off strong with the discovery dwarf planet ceresThe largest object in the asteroid belt, and other asteroids in this region of the Solar System, such as Vesta, Pallas or Juno, In just a few short years, the known objects in the Solar System doubled, then tripled or quadrupled.

they were seen in the middle of the century Irregularities in the orbit of Uranus This can only be explained with the presence of a new planet similar in size to Uranus, but located beyond it. a few years later, neptune was discovered Thanks for the mathematical predictions. This was seen as a tremendous success of Newton’s universal gravitation. Neptune was discovered 1846Thanks to Urbain Le Verrier’s predictions, it is therefore not surprising that when observing Irregularities in Mercury’s orbit In 1859 he proposed the existence of a new planet between the latter and the Sun.

especially what you saw glass makerAfter nearly 20 years of careful calculations and observations, it was Mercury’s satellite appeared to be moving more than predicted by Newton’s celestial mechanics. Perihelion is the point in any elliptical orbit where the planet is closest to the star. It is the point opposite to the apsor, which would be the most distant. This point changes slightly with each orbit, so that after enough time, the subsolar completes a complete orbit around the Sun. The difference between observed and predicted progress was only a few 40 arc seconds per centuryA small amount, but perceptible with telescopes of the time.

Le Verrier proposed that this divergence must be due to either a planets similar in size to mercury or, more likely, by some asteroid belt very close to the Sun. He saw this second option as more likely because he found it hardly credible that astronomers around the world would not be able to discover an object as large as Mercury, since the planet is known to us. ancient time.

However, if this new planet were closer to the Sun, its angular separation The size of the star may be so small that the conditions necessary to see it from Earth may never be met. At the end of the same year, Le Verrier received correspondence from a doctor and amateur astronomer assuring him that at the beginning of the year he had seen a transit of the Sun. an object that matches the predictions From Leverrier. After questioning by amateur astronomer Le Verrier, he was satisfied with the statements made. Less than two weeks later, he announced the discovery of a new planet, which he named VolcanoAt the meeting of the Academy of Sciences in Paris. lescarbaultThe amateur astronomer who allegedly discovered a new planet was awarded the Legion of Honor for his merits.

As is often the case with great discoveries, The criticism was not long in coming., Several influential astronomers claimed that Lascarbault’s instruments were not powerful enough to perform the mentioned observations or that other professional astronomers had not observed any transit at the date and time indicated. As calculated from observations made by Le Verrier, the planet should orbit at less than half the distance of mercury For the Sun, it takes less than 20 days to complete one orbit.
During the following decades, attempts were made to return to observe the planet Vulcano, without success. they took advantage of a ten solar eclipse Trying to find a planet in the Sun’s vicinity is different, as its brightness will not disturb observations during these events. Repeated failures did not discourage the astronomical community, and for the first decade the twentieth century still continued the search Planet’s It was not until Albert Einstein developed his theory General Relativity, in 1915, that can explain anomalies in the orbit of Mercury. These were apparently not due to the presence of an unknown planet, but to the fact that newton’s gravity This was not entirely correct. After the corrections given by Einstein’s new theory were introduced, the problem was fixed And told about the advancement of Mercury’s satellite.


Levenson, Thomas (2015). The Hunt for Vulcan: …and How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Explained the Universe

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