ALIENS could be living on the edge of the galaxy, experts claim. According to investigators, extraterrestrials may likely be found living in ‘globular clusters’. These clusters are dense balls made up of ancient stars that are found at the furthest edge of the galaxy – and experts now reckon that these may be the best places to look for alien civilisations.
Another theory behind her reasoning is that the stars in globular clusters are close together – with it taking just a month or so for light waves to travel between neighbouring stars. Comparatively, the nearest star to Earth is 4.2 light years away. Dr Di Stefano, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US, added: “It would also be easier for a civilisation to explore and even set up outposts on other worlds.”
Our sun is only 4.6 billion years old – so if globular cluster civilisations do exist they have the potential to be billions of years more advanced than us. So far only one ‘exoplanet’, which has been nicknamed Methuselah, has been found in a globular cluster known as M4, in the constellation of Scorpius.
Aged a staggering 12.7 billion years, Methuselah is the oldest exoplanet recorded. Writing in the BBC’s Sky At Night magazine, Dr Di Stefano said: “It would be strange if there were not many others. “Of course, this is all conjecture. We don’t know whether there is alien life in such clusters.
“But globular clusters would be a good place to look and might be the first place where intelligent life is identified in our galaxy.” One possible disadvantage of having such closely packed stars is that they could get too close and disturb each other’s planetary systems – which would be obstructive when it comes to any evolution of life.
However, Dr Di Stefano has conducted research that put forward that this danger does not exist. She wrote: “What we’ve found is the opposite, that it’s possible for many habitable-zone planets to survive for billions of years.”
The ‘habitable zone’ is an orbital path that is just the right distance from a star to permit circumstances that can support life.