Solar System Formation

proto

Actual Image!

If you’re not into astronomy you might not understand how amazing this photo is. This is an actual image (not an artist’s rendition) of an entirely different solar system forming…
Far, far away, other planets are accreting out of all that illuminated gas and dust, circling a sun of their own!

This image might remind you of Saturn’s rings and that’s no surprise. Some of the gaps in the rings of Saturn were caused by moons clearing their circular path out from the ring debris. Similarly, there are many planets gravitationally attracting all the stuff in front of and around them, growing ever-larger and carving out empty spaces in this proto-planetarty disk.

This process takes millions of years.

Although this may be the first true image of this process taking place, the idea has been around for decades.

Check out this concept art from Isaac Asimov’s Library of the Universe (1988):
solarpizza

Think of it as a pizza. It’s like pizza with pepperonis orbiting the center, picking up cheese along the way, and slowly clearing their paths.

There’s little doubt that, it its infant stage, our solar system looked very similar to this.

p.s. This picture is amazing.

Source: https://public.nrao.edu/news/pressreleases/planet-formation-alma

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