ES0401  Observe an animation showing the origin of the solar system.
  !   Click the image to see the animation. Use the movie controls to examine each stage or replay the movie.
  • The solar system formed from an immense rotating cloud of gas and dust called the solar nebula.

  • The sun's nuclear reaction began at the dense center of the nebula.

  • The planets formed by accumulating material within the swirling currents of the cloud.

  • Planets near the sun evolved as relatively small spheres of rocky material.

  • In the outer portions of the solar nebula, debris and gases accumulated to form massive gaseous planets.