5. Formation of the Solar System

Joshua Barnes -- Fall 1999

Last: 4. Revolution of the Spheres Next: 6. Planets With Atmosphere

The Solar System formed when a cold, slowly-rotating cloud of gas and dust collapsed because of its own gravity about 4.5 billion years ago. As the Sun grew hot enough to ignite the nuclear reactions which sustain it today, it vaporized the cold ices and frozen gasses in the inner solar system, leaving behind the rocky dust and metals which form the inner planets. The outer Solar System remained cold, and the ices and gas there collected into the giant outer planets.

The problem with this scenario is that we now have observations of about a half-dozen planetary systems around other stars -- and none of them resemble the Solar System.


Web Resources:

Homework 5: Using Kepler's Laws, due 9/27. Answer.

Quiz 5: Properties Of The Solar System

Joshua E. Barnes (barnes@ifa.hawaii.edu)
Last modified: October 1, 1999