A meteoric theory of solar heat was independently suggested by the Scottish engineer and physicist John James Waterston
A meteoric theory of solar heat was independently suggested by the Scottish engineer and physicist John James Waterston, who read a paper on the subject at the 1853 meeting of the British Association. Unaware of Mayer’s earlier work (which was only translated into English in 1863), Waterston suggested that the Sun’s heat originated in the influx of a large number of meteors; he thought that these came mainly from outside the solar system and hit the Sun perpendicularly to its surface. He estimated that, if the Sun’s heat was entirely due to meteors, its radius would increase by approximately five metre per year. Whereas Mayer was concerned with the problem of the Sun’s increased mass and its astronomical consequences, Waterston either disregarded it or was just unaware of it. However, he mentioned it in a paper of 1860 in which he gave various estimates of the Sun’s excessive temperature as caused by the capture of very large meteors Waterston 1860.