Dense Star Fields Might Be Home to Extraterrestrial Life
Spacefaring civilizations would thrive in the parts of our galaxy with the shortest commute times.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. Astronomers searching for noisy extraterrestrials might try looking in a most unexpected place: dense conglomerates of stars that appear to be largely empty of planets.
“Globular clusters may indeed contain very old, advanced civilizations,” said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics on Wednesday at a conference of the American Astronomical Society.
The Milky Way’s roughly 150 globular clusters are about 10 billion years old—nearly as old as the galaxy. Each contains thousands to millions of stars, but, so far only one exoplanet has been found in a globular cluster. And it’s not even orbiting a proper star, but a pulsar.
One proposed explanation for this planet shortage is that gravitational interactions between the densely packed stars may