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Making the solar system
Our solar system is thought to have formed around 4.5 billion years ago and most astronomers now agree that the nebular theory best describes its origin. In this model the Sun, planets, asteroids and comets originated within a rotating cloud of gas and dust - the solar nebula.
An artist's impression of the forming Sun and its protoplanetary disk.
The solar nebula condensed into a rotating disk of gas and dust (a proto-planetary disk or proplyd) with the Sun at its centre. Planets and other bodies formed through the accretion of planetesimals - component pieces of rock and dust - and nebular gas.
Over the next 100,000 years some of them should collapse into a variety of planetary systems.
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