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The metaphysical concept of panpsychism defines a field of proto-consciousness that is present at all levels in the universe. An observational indication that this concept might be correct is self-organization on all levels from the molecular to the galactic. In 2011, an investigation into the validity of author Olaf Stapledon’s concept that a portion of stellar motion is volitional led to a consideration of an observational stellar kinematics anomaly dubbed Parenago’s Discontinuity. Data available at the time indicated that cooler, less massive stars (such as the Sun) revolve a bit faster around the center of the Milky Way galaxy than hotter, more massive stars, at least in a sphere with a radius of ~260 light years centered on the Sun. The spectral signature of this discontinuity becomes evident at about the point in the stellar population where molecules can form in stellar photospheres, which supports a published model of molecular consciousness. A mechanistic explanation for Parenago’s Discontinuity requires interaction between star fields and dense diffuse nebulae that might drag less massive stars faster than more massive stars. Reference to three major catalogs of deep-sky objects reveals that nebulae large enough to drag stars over a radius of ~260 light years are very rare. In 2016, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the first data set from the Gaia space observatory. It now appears clear that Parenago’s Discontinuity is a non-local phenomenon. An unexpected and provocative aspect of the reduced Gaia observations is an indication that stars within >500 light years of the Sun apparently accelerate in the direction of their galactic revolution as they age. Other published supporting work includes a demonstration that certain binary stars are similar in many respects to biological organisms. A well-developed model of quantum consciousness supports the concept that neutron stars are conscious. It has been noted that spiral galaxies such as our Milky Way retain their shape after absorbing smaller satellite galaxies, which also supports panpsychism or self-organization at the highest levels. Another research team has reported that the apparent fractal arrangement of galaxy clusters and voids is also in congruence with some form of universe self-organization. The work of two separate researchers who are contemplating methods of communicating with stellar-level consciousness indicates that experimental astro-panpsychism may be possible as well as observational astro-panpsychism. It is becoming evident that panpsychism may be moving from the realm of metaphysics to the domain of observational astrophysics.



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