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

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.

This page was last updated June 27, 2015.

About the Author

Christopher Springob

Christopher Springob

Chris studies the large scale structure of the universe using the peculiar velocities of galaxies.  He got his PhD from Cornell in 2005, and is now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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