Why Do Planets Orbit the Sun

Solar Disruption Theory

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Solar disruption theory was one of several theories that emerged before the 18th century concerning the formation of the solar system. Solar disruption theory states that the collision of the sun with another stars caused debris to be ejected from its mass and these debris eventually became the planets. This theory was later discarded for the nebula theory of solar system formation. However there are some scientists that propose that it has some merit.

The big question up until the 18th century was how the solar system was born. There were many explanations for why this happen but many were really only conjecture given the tools available to astronomers at the time. The real question was what would be a probable origin under the known laws of physics. The advent of classical mechanics came to prove the nebular theory as the likely theory for the creation of the solar system. The reason was that most other theories could not explain how the planets formed without giving in to the Sun’s gravity and falling in.

A new argument has emerged for a different form of solar disruption theory in this version it answers the idea in a more roundabout way that answers an interesting question. We know that the formation of the solar system itself was volatile but did the Sun and its planets really form in relative isolation from other star emerging in the Nebula? This new theory that emerged in 2004 supposed proposed that the influence of other stars may have influenced the formation of planets in the solar system.

In the meanwhile the main theory stands. We know in the nebular theory that stars are formed from spinning nebulas of gases and cosmic dust. Over time the masses clump together to the point where the mass reaches the level needed for gravity to initiate fusion. The planets are formed from the clumps of debris in the nebular disk that did not fall into the Sun and that they eventually ended up colliding with each other forming planets. Any theory that suggests interference from the gravity fields of other star systems has not been tested yet. It may have merit but we don’t have the technology to test theories on such large scales.

We have written many articles about solar disruption theory for Universe Today. Here are some interesting facts about the Solar System, and here’s an article about the model of the Solar System.

If you’d like more info on the Solar System, check out NASA’s Solar System exploration page, and here’s a link to NASA’s Solar System Simulator.

We’ve also recorded a series of episodes of Astronomy Cast about every planet in the Solar System. Start here, Episode 49: Mercury.



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