Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Methuselah - Addendum

The Methuselah - 13 Billion Yr Old Planet (Garden of Eden?) post has been updated, thanks to a reader's feedback who correctly pointed out that I mislabeled M4 as an open cluster. I also addressed the issue of the low metallic nature of early globular clusters more clearly - early stellar nurseries should not be capable of producing planets, yet here we have at least one that was formed 13 billion years ago. The probability of life forming on that planet is rather low (at least life as we know it) as it is most likely a gaseous planet, but not zero. And it does raise the possibility (this blog is about speculation, after all) that other ancient planets exist - including a smaller terrestrial planet orbiting in the same system as Methuselah which current methods do not allow us to detect. And that raises the possibility, even if a slim one, that life did arise far earlier in the universe than first thought.