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wwarnout t1_j5vytjd wrote

For reference, 0.04 light years is about 500 billion km, and our solar system (the 8 planets) is about 10 billion km across (the Oort Cloud is much bigger, but most people use the orbits of the planets).


Sawdust-Rice-Crispy t1_j5w9k4o wrote

Or 350 light-hours.


Apprehensive_Map863 t1_j5xnk27 wrote

And Voyager 1, the furthest man made object from Earth, has been travelling for 45 years and is still less than 10% of that distance


silver-fusion t1_j5y2ak5 wrote

Voyager 1 was launched 74 years after we invented powered flight. That's a single generation.

Cosmologically the rate of progress is scarily fast. It took billions of generations to get from mammal to human. It took trillions of generations to get from multicellular life to mammals. It took billions of trillions of generations to get from single cell to multicellular.

It took one generation to go from land based organism to putting objects so far away from land they are measured in the speed of causality. The highest speed achievable.


SuperSimpleSam t1_j5zudm5 wrote

Voyager 1 (61,000 km/hr) - 1977
New Horizons (84,000 km/hr) - 2006

Though by the 21st century, we aren't going all that much faster.


UKSpaceChris t1_j60bniv wrote

Parker Solar Probe 690,000 km/hr

These craft go the speed they need to go to achieve their mission goals.

We can go much faster than Voyager if we choose to.


theneedfull t1_j5zswsz wrote

Yeah, but 450 years actually seems like some humans can do unlike the bajillion years it would take us to get anywhere.


dave_hitz t1_j5w1d9t wrote

So that's where the first interstellar civilizations will form. It's still a long trip, but imagine being able to exchange laser messages in a month, round trip. You can imagine a buzzing web of communication, and much more incentive to try to mount a trip. Wow.


Tubesock1202 t1_j5w35lh wrote

It's not impossible but it is improbable. As I understand it, that region of space is highly unstable. All those stars that close together wreaks havoc on the orbits of planets and stars. The closer to the middle you get the closer to the supermassive black hole at the center and the stars in that area are absolutely screaming through space. There's a bunch of other factors contributing to that region of space being very hostile to life as we know it.

Much like how solar systems have "goldilocks zones", galaxies have them too.


radiantwave t1_j5w4ttl wrote

It is worse than that... The solar systems at the center of the Galaxy are uninhabitable due to many factors, one of which is radiation...

Galactic habitable zone...


AdClemson t1_j5xfwa9 wrote

> The solar systems at the center of the Galaxy are uninhabitable

I always such statement a stretch when spoken with such clear confidence. Simple answer is that we don't know. We assume its hostile based on our own understanding of life on our own planet. There simply could be life that uses that high levels of radiation as energy source and be able to withstand radiation. Imagine a Silicon based lifeform? or something completely different than our own DNA based versions.

Specially when we continue to find life on our own planet in extreme inhospitable conditions where life simply shouldn't be possible.


IndustrialChiller t1_j5xaxh5 wrote

Why laser instead of radio? A laser beam won't stay collimated at interstellar distances, even these "short" ones.


dave_hitz t1_j5xkkn6 wrote

I was just trying to be all sciency. Radio may well be better.


Nazamroth t1_j5xf26t wrote

Yeah no. We are actually in a better spot for that. Civilization would not survive long enough in that chaotic mess to go interstellar.


Jinm409 t1_j5x0gbz wrote

Elite Dangerous taught me this. Very pretty near Sag A.


Nazamroth t1_j5xexyu wrote

Except for those weird lines where stars just terminate.

Man, my Anaconda is still parked somewhere near the core


lucpet t1_j5xo69z wrote

.........and here we are all the way out here, living off the grid!!


yoguckfourself OP t1_j5xpaxq wrote

"Most people would call this the ass end of space, but I like the small town feeling you get around here"


pdxb3 t1_j5yp8ae wrote

Wow. That is a deep, deep cut, but I got that reference.


bayesian13 t1_j626nls wrote

location is probably the reason we are here. rare earth hypothesis anyone?  

"The right location in the right kind of galaxy Rare Earth suggests that much of the known universe, including large parts of our galaxy, are "dead zones" unable to support complex life. Those parts of a galaxy where complex life is possible make up the galactic habitable zone, which is primarily characterized by distance from the Galactic Center."


dgmilo8085 t1_j5w3sq3 wrote

Thats where are the cool kids that talk to each other live. Back when galaxies were being formed they took a glimpse into our future and decided the milky way can be shot "over there". We're outcasts.


herbw t1_j5wj9ss wrote

Way closer alone in globular clusters.


TheCloudFestival t1_j5y9i1z wrote

Even packed in that close together, if you were standing on a planet orbiting one of those stars, your nearest stellar neighbours would still appear as points of light, not discs.

Stars are huge, but light years are absurdly enormous.


fish4096 t1_j634qco wrote

stars are not that relevant. deaths of stars on the other hand...