Researchers from Harvard announced on Wednesday that a globular star cluster, which is a dense group of stars, is possibly the first place that should be analyzed when trying to find intelligent life, interstellar communications and new planets in our galaxy. The Milky Way has around 150 globular clusters composed by ancient stars that date since the birth of the universe.
Old-aged groups of stars which are very close to each other could possibly be relevant for civilizations in globular clusters because they could travel and develop outposts within relatively short times, as the lead study author, Rosanne Di Stefano, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained in a statement.
In the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Di Stefano added that when an independent outpost is developed, probabilities of a disastrous phenomenon that would destroy the situation could be reduced.
There are around 150 globular clusters which have been identified in the Milky Way galaxy, as HyperPhysics from the Georgia State University reported. It is calculated that each globular cluster contains thousands of stars which are among the oldest in the galaxy, most of them are at least 10 billion years old.
“Smaller planetary systems have a better chance of surviving for long times. Our results indicate globular clusters are a good place to search for planets and for life. We have established the existence of these sweet spots and possibly, if there are civilizations in those sweet spots, they would have the opportunity to establish outposts that would facilitate their long-term survival,” Di Stefano said.
The researcher explained that since stars in globular clusters contain ancient low-mass stars it would be very serene to live in it. It is known that some planets around similar stars have been detected by Kepler spacecraft. That being said, Di Stefano explained that smaller planetary systems have a better chance of surviving for long times.
According to NASA the word “globulus”, from which clusters take their name, is Latin for “small sphere”. Last year in summer the space agency published astonishing pictures of the NGC 6535 globular cluster which was discovered in 1852, that were taken with complex cameras from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The new study propose that expeditions in order to explore globular clusters should be done, since the dense group of stars would probably have a chance of having at least one communicating civilization forming within it. Di Stefano added that if it was the case, advanced civilizations which established outposts could be found.
“We call it the ‘globular cluster opportunity. Sending a broadcast between the stars wouldn’t take any longer than a letter from the U.S. to Europe in the 18th century. The [NASA] Voyager probes are 100 billion miles [160 billion km] from Earth, or one-tenth as far as it would take to reach the closest star if we lived in a globular cluster. That means sending an interstellar probe is something a civilization at our technological level could do in a globular cluster,” Di Stefano said.