RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Formation of the Moon. Image 4 of 4. Artwork of the Moon and the Earth after they formed. This artwork is part of a sequence illustrating the giant impact theory of the formation of the Moon. This theory says that an object about the size of Mars collided with the Earth around 4.6 billion years ago, soon after they both formed. Material from the outer layers of both bodies was thrown into orbit around the Earth, forming a ring. This then coalesced to form the Moon. Both the Earth and the Moon have cooled since the impact, and an atmosphere and oceans have formed on the Earth. For the whole sequence, see images R340/853 to R340/856.
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