from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A hypothesis concerning the origin of the solar system according to which a rotating nebula cooled and contracted, throwing off rings of matter that contracted into the planets and their moons, while the great mass of the condensing nebula became the sun.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. an hypothesis to explain the process of formation of the stars and planets, presented in various forms by Kant, Herschel, Laplace, and others. As formed by Laplace, it supposed the matter of the solar system to have existed originally in the form of a vast, diffused, revolving nebula, which, gradually cooling and contracting, threw off, in obedience to mechanical and physical laws, succesive rings of matter, from which subsequently, by the same laws, were produced the several planets, satellites, and other bodies of the system. The phrase may indicate any hypothesis according to which the stars or the bodies of the solar system have been evolved from a widely diffused nebulous form of matter.
- n. See under Nebular.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (cosmology) the theory that the solar system evolved from a hot gaseous nebula
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