DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration showing the birth of the Sun, our own star, within a nebula. Irregularities in the distribution of gas and other matter within a nebula may lead to a star 'seed' being formed. This starts to rotate, its increasing gravity forming an accretion disc of matter falling toward its surface. A nearby supernova event (top left) sends a compressed wave of material toward the 'seed', providing a dense source of matter for the star to accrete and a source of intense energy that may trigger hydrogen fusion reactions within the core.
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