In this sci-if scenario, angry aliens “evict” Earth and the sun from the galaxy using their clarkean wormhole technology, and sol ends up in a new region of space. Sol is now located near the core of a globular star cluster, where the stars are only 0.013 to 0.01 lightyears apart.

What would the visual effects of this be? Would the stars appear bigger/brighter/more blurred because of this?

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    $\begingroup$ The title asks about "near the centre of a galaxy", but the body asks about the "core of a globular cluster", two different things. Given the radiation problems near the center of a galaxy, the later (globular cluster) is probably preferred for literary purposes. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ Think 'Milky Way' on steroids. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ "bigger/brighter/more blurred" OK what are you on? can I have some? .. the laws of physics don't change just because you've gone to a new location so why on earth would you think what stars look like would change, they would look exactly like stars look from where we are now, brighter if closer dimmer if more distant, there being more of them in the vicinity isn't going to make them suddenly get annoyed all the other stars look the same as them and go out and buy a new flashy dress so they look different is it 👎 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond OP appears to be asking about the appearance of individual stars rather than the number of stars nearby to be seen, suggesting he believes stars will take on different physical and visual characteristics in different areas of the galaxy 🥴 which is a very peculiar idea indeed .. if not he's worded his question very strangely 🤗 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond I am seeing increasing numbers of these questions that appear to lack some weirdly basic understanding in peculiar ways like this, and a possibility occurs to me as a result, do you think that it's possible we've become a test ground for someone's chatbot design project? .. I am being entirely serious in asking this question, unfortunately 🙁 .. it might explain the large uptick in very poor quality and strangely worded questions I've noted in the last year or so. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


There's a relevant article in Astronomy mazagine, which isn't a scientific publication, alas. There are excerpts from the article for free here, which used to include this nice simulation of night on a planet inside the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, as viewed by a regular human eye. The io9 article still exists, but it doesn't show any pictures for me... luckily I did grab a copy whilst it still existed:

Nighttime view from inside 47 Tucanae

To quote from the quote:

The cluster's suns would combine to give an average sky brightness some 20 times brighter than Earth's night sky at Full Moon

An impressive sight, to be sure.

What would the visual effects of this be? Would the stars appear bigger/brighter/more blurred because of this?

The stars would certainly appear brighter, and more numerous. Whether they'd appear larger or blurrier depends on the population of stars around the Earth's new home. A sunlike-star 0.01ly away would have an angular diamater of about 3 seconds of arc... that's about the apparent size of Neptune, and below the resolving power of the human eye (20-60 seconds of arc) and so it would appear to be a bright point of light. On the other hand, a supergiant star like Rigel would have an apparent angular diameter of more like 4 minutes of arc... it would appear to be a very small bright disc of approximate magnitude -24, brighter than the full moon, and visible in daylight.

It should be remembered though that globular clusters are full of quite hazardous things including the excitingly named "cataclysmic binary" type of star and all manner of high-energy x-ray sources. The middle of the cluster coudld easily harbor a massive black hole of thousands of solar masses, though it presumably wouldn't have an accretion disk or your new Earth might be a bit warm for comfort...


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