DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system formation. Artwork showing the primordial cloud of gas from which the solar system originated. The planets in the solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago following a process of condensation within the primordial nebula. A protostar, the future Sun, is seen in the centre of the nebula; it is characterised by a strong stellar wind which is blowing away gas in a direction perpendicular to the nebula. The planets in the early days underwent a massive bombardment from asteroids and smaller bodies which were populating the interplanetary space. The rate of these collisions has decreased by about 2000 times since then.
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