Our Solar System is in a Boring Part of the Milky Way Galaxy!
I know you’ve all been thinking it! The Solar System is in a really boring part of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are marooned out here in one of the remote (some may say back water) areas of the Orion Spiral Arm about 20 degrees above the galactic plane and about 28,000 light years from the center of the galaxy.
To illustrate my point, consider the following: We are on the outer edge of a spiral arm. The closest star, Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light years away. The closest planetary nebula, the Helix Nebula, is over 45o light years away. Folks, there is nothing around us! Consider what it would be like if we were near the galactic core. Our night sky would be filled with the glow of millions of neighboring suns. It would be sprinkled with the multicolored mosaic of numerous nebulae. It would crackle with the energy of stars being consumed by the massive black hole at the center of our galaxy which would be visible only by the light that is able to escape it’s enormous event horizon.
I wonder though, has our relatively quiet location allowed life to form on our planet? If we lived closer to core, would our planet be constantly bombarded by the lethal energy being released by dying stars going nova? Would the planet be subject to the unending impact of bits and pieces of other solar systems that are constantly being ripped apart by the gravity wells of millions of neighboring stars? Maybe by being left alone out here, life was given a chance to happen.
Tell us what you think. If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be?