Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Gravity and Light in the Newtonian Universe of Stars

Michael Hoskin


Newton’s claim that gravity is a universal force was contradicted by observations that seemed to show the stars were motionless. When challenged on this by Richard Bentley, he argued that the solution lay in the near-perfect symmetry of the stellar system. William Stukeley however suggested that in such a universe the sky would be filled with light similar to the Milky Way. Edmond Halley disputed this in print, but mistakenly, and later discussions of such a universe led to ‘Olbers’s Paradox’.

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