Hegel's historically transient notion of 'aether', developed and finally abandoned again during his short period of time at the University of Jena in the early years of the 19th century, has received comparatively little attention so far – much less than, for example, his Phenomenology of Spirit, or his later systematic works which he published after his departure from Jena. In modern and contemporary physics, however, notions comparable to Hegel's 'aether' have become interesting again in the context of quantum theory. In the main part of this essay we recapitulate and explicate the notion of 'aether' in Hegel's early works. Finally we briefly compare the Hegelian notion to novel concepts of 'aether' which might possibly be appropriate in the context of contemporary quantum physics. Such a juxtaposition would well have matched Hegel's own intentions, as he had always been acutely aware of the latest developments in the natural sciences during his own lifetime. In conclusion we can state that, in spite of a number of differences, both notions of 'aether' can be metaphysically characterised as a fundamental 'reality of possibility'.