Birth and Death of the Solar System

Birth and Death of the Solar System

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Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Stages in the birth and death of the Solar System. (1) A globule forms from a giant molecular cloud. (2) The globule contracts gravitationally, forming a protoplanetary disc called the solar nebula. A bipolar outflow of charged particles may also be visible. (3) The stars and the planets form within the solar nebula. (4) In about 6 billon years from now, the Sun expands into a red giant, swallowing the inner two planets, and possibly Earth. (5) 200 million years after that, the Sun sheds its outer layers to form a planetary nebula. (6) A few tens of thousands of years later, the planetary nebula dissipates, leaving behind the remaining planets orbiting the Sun's original, exposed core - now a white dwarf.

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Keywords: accretion, art, artwork, astronomy, birth, cgi, cycle, death, digitally-generated image, formation, globule, illustration, life, nebula, outflow, planetary nebula, planets, protoplanetary disc, protoplanets, red giant, schematic, space, star, sun, white dwarf

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