National Geographic online - Don Albert - Henry C Courten -
Einstein gave the first in a series of lectures that rewrote Newton’s laws of gravity and changed the world. In The Hunt for Vulcan: and How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe Tom Levenson reveals how this revolution could not have happened without disproving an obscure astronomical calculation.
According to Newton, Mercury’s wobble was caused by the gravitational pull of some other planet. Enter Vulcan – the so-called ‘other’ planet – first observed in 1859; confirmed by the greatest astronomer of the day, Urbain le Verrier; and hailed by The New York Times as one of the great discoveries of the century. Trouble was, it didn’t exist.
Speaking from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is Professor of Science Writing, the author explains how a provincial doctor in France triggered ‘Vulcan-mania’; how Einstein’s theory of relativity offered a totally new explanation of the universe; and why Vulcan still has lessons to teach about the nature of truth and illusion. National Geographic online article 4th November 2015, ‘The Hunt for Vulcan, the Planet that Wasn’t There’
Vulcan perhaps did exist. And then you have to explain what happened to it. Why don’t we see Vulcan any more. And things don’t just fly off; but they could disintegrate. Being so close to the Sun it would experience strong gravitational forces and perhaps did not survive, and now is in smaller fragments in that vicinity. Professor Don Albert
There was an object. It was observed by a number of people as recorded in the proper position. And here we are on the order of a hundred years later finding a bunch of debris in the area. It seems a straight forward conclusion to make that the two are directly related – we are looking at the ruins of Vulcan. Professor Henry C Courten