posted on Apr, 1 2004 @ 10:12 AM
Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
that would be the planet vulcan, which has been disproved. it was a theory for a long while, but no one was able to find it. also, the Fibonacci
numbers don't call for another body there.
Planet Vulcan theory was not about a planet in the same orbit as Earth, but supposedly a Planet that was observed inside the orbit of Mercury.
The discovery of Neptune made Le Verrier (who calculated where it would be, which lead it's discovery by Johann Galle and Heinrich d'Arrest) world
famous, but his next investigation, the search for an intra-Mercurial planet, came to a very different conclusion. Mercury was not moving as it might
have been expected to do; could there be an inner planet pulling it out of position? Le Verrier believed so, and his faith in the planet was never
shaken. The planet was even given a name: Vulcan, after the blacksmith of the gods. Obviously it would be difficult to see, because it was bound to
remain very close to the Sun in the sky. The only chance of glimpsing it would be either to catch it in transit across the Sun's face, or identify it
at the time of a total solar eclipse. In 1859 Lescarbault, a French country doctor and amateur astronomer, announced that he had seen the planet in
transit; Le Verrier made haste to see him - and accepted the story. Confirmation was lacking, but there was a revival of interest in 1878, when two
well-known observers - Swift and Watson - surveyed the neighbourhood of the totally eclipsed Sun and reported finding not one Vulcan, but several.
All in all it is hard to see how a man such as Le Verrier, noted for his 'irritability', could have been convinced by Lescarbault, and later in his
life Lescarbault claimed another discovery, that of a bright starlike object which, he said, he had 'never seen until today... I believe I saw it
well, and was not the victim of an illusion.' In fact, the good doctor had made a completely independent discovery of Saturn, and this surely shows
his lack of elementary knowledge. Other claims of seeing Vulcan were equally dubious; there was for instance the Chevalier D'Angos, who was a
complete charlatan and who made a habit of reporting comets which did not exist at all. And in time the motions of Mercury were fully explained by
Einstein's theory of relativity.
Vulcan does not exist, and never did; the hunt for it was finally abandoned after the total solar eclipse of 1929.
[Edited on 1-4-2004 by Popeye]