JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alien solar system. Artwork of a Sun-like star and planets embedded within the dark dust clouds of a huge nebula. It is thought stars form in nebulae by the coalescence of gas and dust. This continues until the material is hot and dense enough to initiate the nuclear reactions which power stars. Once the star is born, the resulting solar wind blows much of the material away from the star, which may be the cause of the pocket seen here. Planets are thought to form when the dust orbiting the new star also coalesces into dense bodies.
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