MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system formation. Computer artwork of the primordial nebula (solar nebula) surrounding the newborn Sun (centre). The Sun was formed as gas coalesced until it was dense enough and hot enough to begin the nuclear reactions that sustain a star. The solar nebula, originally a sphere of gas, dust and rock, became a disc and then eventually coalesced into planets as it spiralled around the Sun. It condensed due to the gravitational attraction of its individual components. It is thought the planets formed around 4.6 billion years ago.
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