The New Cosmos pp 494-515 | Cite as

The Cosmogony of the Solar System

  • Albrecht Unsöld
  • Bodo Baschek


We turn back now from the depths of interstellar space to our own Solar System, and the old question of how it came into existence. The daring thought that this question cannot be answered by the handing-down of ancient myths, but only through our own probing, was proposed in France as early as 1644 by René Descartes in his whirlpool theory. In Germany, still by 1755, Immanuel Kant had to publish the first edition of his “Allgemeine Naturgeschichte and Theorie des Himmels” anonymously, for fear of the (protestant) theologians; in it, he treated the origin of the Solar System for the first time “according to Newtonian principles”. Kant assumed a rotating, flattened primordial nebula, from which the planets and later their satellites were formed. The description offered independently somewhat later by S. Laplace in 1796 in his popular “Exposition du Système du Monde” was based on a similar hypothesis.


Angular Momentum Solar System Accretion Disk Planetary System Solar Nebula 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albrecht Unsöld
    • 1
  • Bodo Baschek
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische AstrophysikUniversität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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