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Astronomy

What is the passing star theory?

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August 23, 2011 3:25PM

This is a guess, because the term is a little vague, but at one time (first half of the twentieth century) there was a theory that planets were "pulled" from their parent star by the gravity of another star passing nearby. The first section of E.E. "Doc" Smith's Triplanetary, the start of the Lensman saga, is an example of a writer using something that was at the time a reasonable theory which has since been shown to be purest nonsense.