LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system formation. Artwork of the primordial nebula around the Sun. All the solar system's components originated from this disc of gas and dust (the solar nebula). Planets and other bodies (such as asteroids) formed about 4.6 billion years ago following a process of condensation within the nebula. Several comets (white) can be seen, their long tails pointing away from the Sun. It is thought that coagulation of small particles in the solar nebula eventually led to larger particles, which in turn attracted more and more mass by gravitation, forming planetesimals, or proto- planets. One is seen at lower left, glowing orange with energy from the impacts of smaller particles.
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