Most astronomical hypotheses on the causes of ice ages are dynamically untenable. Alterations in the amount of solar radiation, however, have long been recognized as a possible cause, but only with recent progress in the theory of stellar evolution has it become clear that such changes must occur. At irregular intervals the sun will pass, and will have passed, with low relative speeds through interstellar hydrogen clouds, and the gravitational action of the sun leads to an increase in the quantity of material falling to the surface with high velocity. The conversion of the kinetic energy of fall of this material results in an increase of emission at the solar surface. Increases of order up to about 10 per cent of the present total radiation could occur, and the process is such that the extra energy would be located mainly in the shorter wavelengths.