Since Newton's time it has been possible to speculate about the origin of the Earth and the Solar System as a different problem from the creation of the Universe as a whole.
The idea of the Solar System was that of a structure with certain unified characteristics:
1. - All major planets revolve around the Sun approximately in the plane of the solar equator. In other words: if we prepare a three-dimensional model of the Sun and its planets, we will verify that it can be introduced into a shallow dipper.
2. - All major planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction, counterclockwise, if we look at the Solar System from the Polar Star.
3. - All major planets (except Uranus and possibly Venus) make a rotational movement around its axis in the same direction as its revolution around the Sun, that is, counterclockwise; the sun also moves in that direction.
4. - The planets are spaced evenly increasing distances from the Sun and describe almost circular orbits.
5. - All satellites, with very few exceptions, circle around their respective planets in the planetary planetary equator, and always counterclockwise. The regularity of such movements suggested, in a natural way, the intervention of some singular processes in the creation of the System as a whole.
Therefore, what was the process that had caused the Solar System? All the theories proposed until then could be divided into two classes: catastrophic and evolutionary. According to the catastrophic point of view, the Sun had been created as a singular solitary body, and began to have a "family" as a result of some violent phenomenon. On the other hand, the evolutionary ideas considered that the whole System had arrived in an orderly way to its current state.
In the 16th century, the birth of the scientific astronomy, it was assumed that even the history of the Earth was full of violent catastrophes. Why, then, could there not have been a catastrophe of cosmic scopes, the result of which was the appearance of the entire System? One theory that enjoyed popular favor was the one proposed by the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who claimed, in 1745, that the Solar System had been created from the remains of a collision between the Sun and a comet.
Naturally, Buffon implied the collision between the Sun and another body of comparable mass. He called that other body comet, for lack of another name. We now know that comets are tiny bodies surrounded by insubstantial vestiges of gas and dust, but Buffon's principle continues, as long as we call the body in collision with some other name and, in recent times, astronomers have returned to this notion. .
However, for some it seems more natural, and less fortuitous, to imagine a more long and non-catastrophic process that gave rise to the birth of the Solar System. This would somehow fit with the majestic description that Newton had sketched out of the natural law that governs the movements of the worlds of the Universe.
Own Isaac Newton He had suggested that the Solar System could have formed from a faint cloud of gas and dust, which would have slowly condensed under the gravitational attraction. As the particles approached, the gravitational field would have become more intense, the condensation would have accelerated until, finally, the total mass would have collapsed, to give rise to a dense body (the Sun), incandescent because of the energy of contraction.
In essence, this is the basis of the most popular theories today regarding the origin of Solar system. But a good number of thorny problems had to be solved to answer some key questions. For example: How a highly dispersed gas could be forced to join, by a very weak gravitational force?
|◄ Previous||Next ►|
|Articles about the Solar System||Origin of the Solar System (II)|