MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Planetary formation. Artwork of a protoplanet forming from a planetary disc. It is thought that the Sun and the planets formed from a cloud of gas and dust around 4. Gravitational condensation of this cloud (or nebula) formed a protostar (upper right) which has ignited under its own weight. The remaining material formed a rotating disc around this newly- formed Sun. The same process on a smaller scale led to the formation of the planets. This disc (lower centre) will probably form into satellites or rings around the gas giant forming at its centre.
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