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What Was It Like When Planet Earth Took Shape?

13 Mar 2019, 14:01 UTC
What Was It Like When Planet Earth Took Shape?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The Solar System formed from a cloud of gas, which gave rise to a proto-star, a proto-planetary disk, and eventually the seeds of what would become planets. The crowning achievement of our own Solar System’s history is the creation and formation of Earth exactly as we have it today, which may not have been as special a cosmic rarity as once thought. (NASA / DANA BERRY)The ‘giant impact’ that led to Earth might not have been so giant, after all.A little over 4.5 billion years ago, our Solar System began to form. Somewhere in the Milky Way, a large cloud of gas collapsed, giving rise to thousands of new stars and star systems, each one unique from all the others. Some stars were much more massive than our Sun; most were much smaller. Some came with multiple stars in their systems; about half the stars formed all by their lonesome, like ours did.But around practically all of them, a large amount of matter coalesced into a disk. Known as protoplanetary disks, these would be the starting points for all the planets that formed around these stars. With the advances in telescope technology that’s accompanied the past few decades, we’ve started ...

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