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Origins Lesson

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Formation of the Solar System

What is "Space"?

Interstellar space: a vacuum with a virtual absence of matter. The closer you get to a star, the more matter there is. Why? Because the Sun ejects matter outward into space as the solar wind.

The solar wind is composed of magnetically charged particles that stream outward in all directions.

"Magnetically charged particles" consists of…

How did everything form?

The origins of the universe are still uncertain. The most accepted hypothesis is : The “Big Bang Theory” (NOT the TV show!)

In the beginning . . .There was the “Big Bang”, which initially created incandescent gasses, no matter yet. Eventually, cooled enough to form simple elements (H+, He), then all the other parts of the universe, including stars. Stars formed, then died, sometimes creating new stars.

The Nebular Hypothesis

A star explodes, and forms a nebula. Then what? The nebula begins to spin. Some parts of the nebula spin a bit faster than the rest. Gravity pulls the heavier elements towards the center, forming a protostar. Swirling around the protostar are the nebular gasses and dust particles. The dust particles start to smash into one another as the orbit around the prostar. As particles continue to collide with one another, they generate friction & heat. Heat makes the particles melt and fuse together, making it easier for the particles to stick together. Thus, larger and larger particles coalesce. This is the leading hypothesis of how the planets formed: via the accretion of particles.


(image source)



Initially, all of the planets were




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