Pulling together the early solar system

November 14, 2014 2:40 PM

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Pulling together the early solar system

Infant planetary systems are usually nothing more than swirling disks of gas and dust. Over the course of a few million years, this gas gets sucked into the center of the disk to build a star, while the remaining dust accumulates into larger and larger chunks—the building blocks for terrestrial planets.

Astronomers have observed this protoplanetary disk evolution throughout our galaxy—a process that our own solar system underwent early in its history. However, the mechanism by which planetary disks evolve at such a rapid rate has eluded scientists for decades.

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