People often believe that our planet represents the best place from the Universe, despite its countless political and economic issues. But a new study claims otherwise, and it adds new support to the idea that we’re all here and at this specific time in the Universe’s timeline by pure luck. But could that really be true?
ScienceAlert.com writes about the new research published in Astronomy & Astrophysics that claims something completely unexpected: the best time and place from the Milky Way for the appearance of life isn’t on Earth and during the last 4.5 billion years since the first forms of life began.
It would have been more suitable for life to begin over 6 billion years ago on the Milky Way’s edges
The stunning conclusion came after studying the history of our galaxy. 6 billion years ago and somewhere on the outskirts of our galaxy meant the ideal time and place for a planet to take advantage of protection against supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.
Riccardo Spinelli, an astronomer from the University of Insubria and the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) from Italy, explained the following:
Our work shows that, until 6 billion years ago, excluding the peripheral regions of the Milky Way, which had relatively few planets, due to high star formation and low metallicity, planets were subject to many explosive events able to trigger a mass extinction.
Earth has already been through cosmic radiation capable of mass extinction events, and one good example is the Late Devonian extinction from 359 million years ago.
Giancarlo Ghirlanda, an astronomer of the INAF, declared:
Supernovae are more frequent in star-forming regions, where massive stars are formed.
Ghirlanda also added:
Gamma-ray bursts, on the other hand, prefer star-forming regions that are still poorly engulfed by heavy elements. In these regions, massive stars that are formed by metal-poor gas lose less mass during their life due to stellar winds. Therefore, these stars are able to keep themselves in rapid rotation, a necessary condition to be able to launch, once a black hole has formed, a powerful jet.