Solar System Formation

Let’s start this month with something more uplifting, shall we?

The Atlantic has an article titled The Before Times of a Solar System about the formation of solar systems, in particular how planets are being formed from dust and particles circling around a massive celestial body, such as a star.

Many moons ago […] our home in the universe was a ring of glowing material, with the young sun in the center, like a donut sprinkled with cosmic dust and gas. Round and round the disk went, whisking particles around, until the material began to stick together in clumps. After millions of years, the clumps curved into the planets and the moons as we know them today, a rich assortment of worlds.

This is our story, but it has happened—is happening—countless times across the cosmos, around other stars. Astronomers have long known about such swirling structures, known as protoplanetary disks, which are the leftovers from the fiery birth of new suns.

Alas, the article is not very specific about the distance these pictures were taken: “many hundreds of light-years away”. But considering that the formation of planets takes millions of years, we can say that even now new solar systems are being created all the time, also in our own galaxy.