back to article 911, I wanna report a robbery. Hundreds of thousands of stars stolen from a cluster. I think it was the Milky Way

The Milky Way galaxy ripped apart an ancient star cluster born in the early universe and stole its suns two billion years ago, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday. These globular clusters are fairly common, and typically found on the fringes of galaxies. The Milky Way is orbited by about 150 such clusters …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very cool to imagine living on a planet in a globular cluster, and seeing other stars so close that the sky is literally full of other suns, hundreds of AU's away rather than light years.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      It would be somewhat hot on that planet, though. Living in a tent in the middle of a close-packed ring of blast furnaces would be but a pale imitation. I wonder if the locals would have evolved shiny silver skins. Either that or they are intelligent plasmoids who'd be right at home, if a bit chilly, living in the photosphere of our Sun.

      1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

        "It would be somewhat hot on that planet, though."

        Not necessarily. Neptune is a pretty chilly place, so adding more suns would be an improvement there.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Problems are elements and gravity

        Globular clusters have a severe shortage of elements heavier than helium so Earth-like planets will be somewhere between exceptionally rare to non-existent. Gas giants are a possibility, but with a shortage of elements useful for life like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. If you solve that problem with magic then there are plenty of yellow stars with a goldilocks zone. Almost all the heat required to keep an Earth-like planet at a comfortable temperature would come from the nearest star. Millions of bright stars in the night sky would make a small but measurable contribution.

        Your next problem would be other stars passing close enough to move your Earth-like planet out of the goldilocks zone every hundred million years or so. Plenty of time to enjoy a holiday home but nothing like enough for evolution to go from microbes to mastodons.

    2. harmjschoonhoven

      Seeing other stars so close that the sky is literally full of other suns.

      Better than the current situation where citydwellers call the police if they spot a bright star.

    3. G.Y.

      I believe dense clusters come at about 1 star per cubic light year

  2. Michael Hoffmann

    What goes around...

    ... comes around, Milky Way. Andromeda is gonna do that to you in 2 billion years or so. It's on its way!

    (ok, yeah, they're going to rip each other to shreds due to more similar size, but still. No more spiral, just another big elliptic, undistinguished blob. With an even bigger, fatter black hole in the centre. Kind of like your typical corporate M&A)

  3. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

    There's heavy-ish, and there's heavier.

    "After the Big Bang, the universe contained only the simplest atoms, like hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements, like calcium, oxygen, and various metals are only found in later generations of stars."

    That's not quite correct. The first generation of stars (Population III) quickly formed elements all the way up to iron by fusion, so yes calcium and oxygen did exist in the first stars. Elements heavier than iron could only exist after the first stars went supernova.

    It's true that metals are more abundant in later generations (Population I) and less abundant in older stars (Population II), but even the older ones do have some.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: There's heavy-ish, and there's heavier.

      "After the Big Bang, the universe contained only the simplest atoms, like hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements, like calcium, oxygen, and various metals are only found in later generations of stars."

      Or they could already have been strip-mined for the useful elements.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Light years not a measure of distance

    "It is 27,000 light years long, but only 150 light years across, "

    And if the speed of light isn't constant then light years isn't a measure of distance.

    So, assume that matter is in motion over an oscillating field, and so is light, also in motion over the SAME field. Thus light appears to be a constant velocity because we measure it against matter. Both scale equally as the field scales in any given direction.

    Given light as measured by us in the same field, an apparent constant value, even if the field under it is uneven, stretched or otherwise distorted.

    So light years is not a measure of distance. If the person is observing light/matter from one field w1, and the observer is in another field w2, then the speed of light is observed to be different. But if the same observer is also in field w1, then light as measured appears to be 'speed of light' constant. The light is moving the same, I just moved the field the observer is using to compare it against from w2 to w1.

    You might assume the field would be equal, absent any major thing to affect it, but no. It does not follow that light would take 270000 years to perform the motion in one axis vs 150 years in the other, if the short field across that axis is compact and the long field stretched.

    Also don't assume the stars and universe stuff in the field are what makes it uneven, this universe as a whole is the inside of a black hole, and its field is not even and smooth unless its in perfect 2F resonance, relative to the outside universe. A special case where outside it wouldn't be spinning or wobbling and inside the number of field lines is constant and the space inside appears to be stable and constant. A non-existent case. Nothing is ever perfectly in resonance, it would be impossible, there is always motion, there is always some departure from resonance for everything to have non-zero size. Thus the field inside is never a nice even equal field, it could never be.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Light years not a measure of distance

      Your new theory should explain everything else that the old theory explained, it should also explain something that the old theory did not explain, and then should predict something that can then be tested.

      I'm prepared to wait on the third item, but please outline how your wonderful new theory handles the first two requirements. If you're unable to do that then please stop typing such drivel into the comments sections of science stories.

      1. m4r35n357

        Re: Light years not a measure of distance

        Explaining how the previous "incorrect" theory fluked all the correct results would be nice too.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Light years not a measure of distance

      Amanfrommars' posts are more conherient than yours.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Light years not a measure of distance

        Amanfrommars' posts are more conherient than yours.

        Muphry's law strikes again.

    3. Colin 22

      Re: Light years not a measure of distance

      you are a manfrommars and I claim my £5

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