Posted: June 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was reading the July/August issue of Discovery, and the article “Invisible Planetoids” fascinated me.

Our solar system, for now, seems lonely in the vast galaxy. The empty space seems to inhabit beyond. But oddly enough, there is empty space within: the space between the Sun & Mercury. Any comets or asteroids, etc., could be trapped forever in this region, so strong is the pull of gravity. Yet, nothing has been detected. Mercury’s scatched surface now remains suspectless. What could’ve caused the collisions that battered this tiny planet’s poor surface?

It’s a stable zone, and being right next to the sun ensures vivid light. This exceptional stable zone is a baffling mystery; the search is 400 years old, beginning in the early 1600s.

However, when Einstein came around, so did the general theory of relativity. It implied the movement of Mercury, and ditched the need for an intra-Mercurial planet.

But now, astronomers are looking for something smaller, small enough to be hidden in the glare of the sun, called “Vulcanoids” after the false alert planet Vulcan that they thought was an intra-Mercurial. Unfortunately, from our view, vulcanoids never stray very far from the sun and would always be hiding behind the glare, leaving the brief sunrise/sunset for us to observe. Even then, the bright sky can overwhelm the feeble light from the target. Not just that, but our atmosphere is polluted and restless, making the chances thinner.

Though the task is gigantic, at least many are working on it. The best hope, now, is to watch from our atmosphere, a compromise between low airplanes and quick satellites: suborbital rocket flights.

My favorite quote, in the paragraph after they ask for the point of looking for something nonexistent, is this.

“Also, astronomers are eternally curious. Absence of evidence, as Carl Sagan noted, is not evidence of absence.”

If an object were to be discovered, they would not only push the borderline, but find another puzzle piece in figuring the best out of the Sun, and how it affects other objects and areas in different situations…or this region.

I just skimmed over the article and put down a brief summary of a summary, but I hope they find something. THough I don’t plan to work in the astronomical field, it fascinates me~


  1. Beverly says:

    In short, that’s why I love astronomy.
    Some people are afraid of it -coughjessicacough-
    and i’m like, ‘can’t you see the beauty in it?’
    It’s really fascinating; especially, visit the ‘Golden Music’ page and search it up on YouTube.
    It makes me feel small. 😦
    I was looking up ‘what is a dike’ and it’s like, ‘ butch: (slang) offensive term for a lesbian who is noticeably masculine ‘. and i’m like, ‘wtf?’

  2. Beverly says:

    Undecided. If I go into nuclear physics (particle acceleration and so forth) I might minor in astronomy, but I have lots of options -cough-

    • nevermoraven says:

      sighs in exasperation. me: *Psychology* for Dummies is the most boring textbook ever written my mom: well, at least that proves that you aren’t a dummy me: no, it means I’m either too smart or too dumb for the material.

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