UCR: Omega Centauri Unlikely to Harbor Life

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UCR: Omega Centauri Unlikely to Harbor Life

Post by bystander » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:16 am

Omega Centauri Unlikely to Harbor Life
University of California, Riverside | 2018 Aug 09

Close encounters between stars in the Milky Way’s largest globular cluster leave little room for habitable planetary systems

Searching for life in the vast universe is an overwhelming task, but scientists can cross one place off their list.

Omega Centauri — a densely packed cluster of stars in our galactic backyard — is unlikely to be home to habitable planets, according to a study by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, and San Francisco State University. ...

n the hunt for habitable exoplanets, Omega Centauri, the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way, seemed like a good place to look. Comprising an estimated 10 million stars, the cluster is nearly 16,000 light years from Earth, making it visible to the naked eye and a relatively close target for observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. ...

Starting with a rainbow-colored assortment of 470,000 stars in Omega Centauri’s core, the researchers homed in on 350,000 stars whose color — a gauge of their temperature and age — means they could potentially harbor life-bearing planets.

For each star, they then calculated the habitable zone — the orbital region around each star in which a rocky planet could have liquid water, which is a key ingredient for life as we know it. Since most of the stars in Omega Centauri’s core are red dwarfs, their habitable zones are much closer than the one surrounding our own larger sun. ...

Ultimately, though, the cozy nature of stars in Omega Centauri forced the researchers to conclude that such planetary systems, however compact, cannot exist in the cluster’s core. While our own sun is a comfortable 4.22 light years from its nearest neighbor, the average distance between stars in Omega Centauri’s core is 0.16 light years, meaning they would encounter neighboring stars about once every 1 million years. ...

Habitability in the Omega Centauri Cluster - Stephen R. Kane, Sarah J. Deveny
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Re: UCR: Omega Centauri Unlikely to Harbor Life

Post by neufer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:17 am

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Art Neuendorffer