Earth Lies at Center of the Milky Way’s Habitable Zone (Weekend Feature)

 

ESO Milky Way Plane

 

In the 2019 paper, “The Galactic Habitable Zone and the Age Distribution of Complex Life in the Milky Way”, astrobiologist and lead author, Charles H. Lineweaver of Australia National University, summarized: “We modeled the evolution of the Milky Way to trace the distribution in space and time of four prerequisites for complex life: the presence of a host star, enough heavy elements to form terrestrial planets, sufficient time for biological evolution and an environment free of life-extinguishing supernovae. We identified the ‘Galactic habitable zone’ (GHZ) as an annular region between 7 and 9 kiloparsecs from the Galactic center that widens with time and is composed of stars that formed between 8 and 4 billion years ago.”

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