Globular clusters may contain older advanced civilizations, if planets can exist within the clusters.
Astronomers looking to find ET’s home place may be surprised to find him lurking in an area that once was thought to be uninhabitable, according to an article on nationalgeographic.com.
Globular clusters, dense collections of stars thought to be roughly as old as 10 billion years, could contain very old, advanced civilizations, that may have even developed the ability to travel among the other planets within the cluster.
Initially thought to be free of any planets, these star clusters may indeed contain exoplanets – one has already been found- but scientists say they could be very hard to discover. Steve Howell, who works for NASA in its planet-finding Kepler mission said the two things that make finding a planet hard to do are faint stars, and really crowded stars, such as a globular cluster.
Scientists believe that any planets orbiting in these clusters could have their orbits disturbed by passing too closely to other stars in such a dense collection of stars, and that could send a potential planet spinning off into deep space, and destroying whatever life may be on it.
But should a planet be able to survive these conditions, it would likely be very old, perhaps billions of years, and that may be the key for an advanced form of life to exist. Civilizations steadily advancing for eons, could possibly develop space travel, partly because the distance between other worlds within the cluster would be relatively short, at least compared to Earth’s neighbors.
Rosanne Di Stefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said, “Globular clusters may indeed contain very old, advanced civilizations.”
She adds that since the stars around the potential planets are small and tranquil, the inhabitants would likely find themselves living in a pleasant neighborhood, albeit with a crowded night sky.
But the chance of a planet’s survival comes down to location, location. Di Stefano and a colleague Alak Ray, of the Tata Institute of Technology, produced a simulation that reveals worlds orbiting stars about 1,000 astronomical units apart would have just about the correct distance between them to withstand a slight jostle from a passing star to maintain its position. Such a distance would still be close enough to allow for travel between them. An astronomical unit is equivalent to 1,000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
Di Stefano presented the findings at a conference of the American Astronomical Society on Wednesday.