A Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Models of Planet Formation

by Michael Mark Woolfson
rrp $29.64

Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company

Publication Date: May 22, 2017

ISBN: 9781786342751

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

Get eBook

Two models for the origin of the Solar System, the Nebula Theory and the Capture Theory, are discussed by protagonists, Simon and Steven respectively, in the presence of Solomon, who oversees the discussions. Modelled on Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, this book provides new insight into different theories of cosmogony.

The Nebula Theory, at present the standard model of planet formation, proposes that a star and planets are derived from a single spinning nebula. Woolfson here introduces an alternative, the Capture Theory, in which planets are produced from a protostar tidally disrupted by a condensed star which 'captures' most of the formed planets into orbits. These complex ideas are simplified and presented in an easily understandable, accessible way for all students of physics, astronomy, cosmology and those interested in the beginning of our world as we know it.


  • Introduction

  • Prologue

  • A Chance Encounter:

    • The First Meeting: Simon Describes the Basic Mechanism of the Nebular Theory
    • The Second Meeting: Steven Describes the Basic Mechanisms of the Capture Theory
    • The Third Meeting: Simon is Questioned about Angular Momentum and Planetary Orbits
    • The Fourth Meeting: Simon Describes Planet-Planetesimal Interactions and Steven Explains How Initial Capture-Theory Orbits are Modified
    • The Fifth Meeting: Steven and Simon Talk about the Proportion of Stars with Planets
    • The Sixth Meeting: Steven and Simon Discuss Spin-Orbit Misalignment
    • The Seventh Meeting: Steven Explains the Formation of Terrestrial Planets and the Earth–Moon Relationship by a Scenario Related to the Capture ...