Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

More cosmic catastrophes

I've decided to make my picture and description of the formation of the Solar System a little more like the version of a near-collision event that doesn't involve a mutual exchange of matter between stars.

The new version of the picture:

Which is now described as follows:

The theory then in vogue, used by many SF authors of the period, was the near collision hypothesis. It assumed a catastrophic origin for planets, in which another star passed close to the Sun and gravity pulled streams of gas from the sun into space, condensing as dense clouds of matter and eventually forming the planets. This took a few thousand years rather than the billion or so predicted by early versions of the nebular hypothesis.

In the next chapter I begin by recapping this idea with a labelled diagram, as follows:

The Solar System

SEVERAL hundred million years ago a small dense fast-moving star happened to pass relatively close to the newly-formed Sun.

Astronomers disagree on the size of the other star and the distance of their closest approach; all that can be stated with any certainty is that its gravitational influence was sufficient to distort the Sun’s atmosphere and start to pull huge clouds of gas into space.

Some of the Sun’s atmosphere may have transferred to the passing star, but most of the clouds failed to escape and ended up orbiting at various distances from the Sun. Eventually they began to cool and combine, forming progressively larger “clumps” of matter which were slowly pulled together by gravity. Over a few thousand years the first protoplanets began to condense from the clouds of debris, eventually forming the worlds we know today.

Somewhere along the way something went wrong with the formation of the fifth planet; the gravity of the largest protoplanet, later Jupiter, may have simply ripped it apart through tidal forces. It became the Asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.

Both the pictures will be small on the page - the first one is in a sidebar that's 6cm wide, the second is about 10cm wide.

I think that the repetition is worthwhile - the first part is in a section on Weird Science that explains why things are different in this solar system, the second is an introduction to the main chapter on Weinbaum's solar system which takes everything at face value and doesn't point out where it goes non-factual.
Tags: forgotten futures, rpg, stanley weinbaum
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