1846

Johann Mädler presented his hypothesis of the central sun (Centralsonne) of the Milky Way.

“The central sun” in the Galaxy was already being looked for before Mädler. Kant supposed that it was Sirius. Herschel placed the centre in the Hercules constellation, Argelander – in the Perseus constellation, etc. Mädler came out with an idea that the governing force of the system of stars must not be one body but it may be the centre of gravity of the revolving cluster of stars. In this case the velocities of the movement of stars near the centre should be smaller. Mädler showed that in neither part of the sky especially quick movement can be seen which might be caused by the presence of a huge body (it could also be dark, i.e. unseen). In his opinion noteworthy slow movement could be seen near the Pleiades where Mädler located the central point of the Galaxy. The model according to which the central point had to be looked for in the Pleiades is a reflection of the present-day imagination.

The observation instruments of Mädler’s time did not allow the observer to see many objects and the meaning of Mädler’s ideas was primarily in the fact that he tried to interpret the observation results at a higher level of generalization and he started a dispute lasting for a long time. His investigation laid the foundation to stellar dynamics and cosmology. In the meanwhile Mädler’s ideas were discarded but according to our contemporary understanding to central body of the Galaxy exists – a gigantic black hole!

The hypothesis of the Galaxy’s „Central sun“ was tried to be visualized in the astronomical picture atlas (Astronomischer Bilderatlas. Wilhelm Nitzschke in Schw. Hull)
Mädler’s book about the system of the fixed stars which brought the author the award of the society of Dutch Scientists