MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system formation. Artwork of stages in the formation of the solar system. At top left, the new Sun is seen with the glowing ring of the solar nebula around it. This gas and dust has formed a ring around the rotating Sun at upper left. At upper centre, the dust and gas is coalescing into small bodies by gravitational attraction. At lower centre, planetesimals have formed from the thinning dust and gas, and they glow orange due to the energy of countless impacts. The planets are thought to have formed around 4.6 billion years ago.
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