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2016ApJ...827...54D - Astrophys. J., 827, 54-54 (2016/August-2)

Globular clusters as cradles of life and advanced civilizations.

DI STEFANO R. and RAY A.

Abstract (from CDS):

Globular clusters are ancient stellar populations in compact dense ellipsoids. There is no star formation and there are no core-collapse supernovae, but several lines of evidence suggest that globular clusters are rich in planets. If so, and if advanced civilizations can develop there, then the distances between these civilizations and other stars would be far smaller than typical distances between stars in the Galactic disk, facilitating interstellar communication and travel. The potent combination of long-term stability and high stellar densities provides a globular cluster opportunity. Yet the very proximity that promotes interstellar travel also brings danger, as stellar interactions can destroy planetary systems. We find, however, that large portions of many globular clusters are "sweet spots," where habitable-zone planetary orbits are stable for long times. Globular clusters in our own and other galaxies are, therefore, among the best targets for searches for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). We use the Drake equation to compare the likelihood of advanced civilizations in globular clusters to that in the Galactic disk. We also consider free-floating planets, since wide-orbit planets can be ejected to travel through the cluster. Civilizations spawned in globular clusters may be able to establish self-sustaining outposts, reducing the probability that a single catastrophic event will destroy the civilization. Although individual civilizations may follow different evolutionary paths, or even be destroyed, the cluster may continue to host advanced civilizations once a small number have jumped across interstellar space. Civilizations residing in globular clusters could therefore, in a sense, be immortal.

Abstract Copyright: © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: star clusters: general - globular clusters: general - planetary systems - planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability - planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability

Simbad objects: 31

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2020.08.03-20:51:32

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