Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Would a planet near the galactic center have a brighter night sky?

I have read that stars in the nucleus of the Milky Way galaxy are closer together than they are "out here" in the spiral arms. (1) Is this true? (2) If so, would it be theoretically possible to have a planet with brighter nights than ours due to relatively nearby stars? (3) Also, would such a planet be subject to a higher level of radiation due to the nearby stars? I know that not much is known about stars all the way over there in the nucleus, but these are only theoretical questions that need only theoretical answers.

(1) Yes, it's true.

(2) Yes. A hypothetical planet near the center of the Galaxy would inevitably have brighter nights than we do.

(3) Yes. With the stars packed more closely together, they'd get more harmful radiation from the nearby stars. Plus they'd have to put up with more nasty things like more supernovae going off nearby. This is why some people believe that it would be very difficult for life to exist near the center of the galaxy.

October 2002, Christopher Springob (more by Christopher Springob) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about The Milky Way: Previous | Next

More questions about Stargazing: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

This page has been accessed 22391 times since October 10, 2002.
Last modified: September 9, 2003 4:44:39 AM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)