Solar System Formation Essay

1940 words - 8 pages

Our sun is the central pivot point to which or entire planet and solar system is built around. With out it all life on our planet would cease to exist. Within this paper we will explore how our Sun and solar system formed and came to resemble what we see today.
The Big Bang, the alpha of existence for the building blocks of stars, happened approximately fourteen billion years ago. The elements produced by the big bang consisted of hydrogen and helium with trace amounts of lithium. Hydrogen and helium are the essential structure which build stars. Within these early stars, heavier elements were slowly formed through a process known as nucleosynthesis. Nucleosythesis is the process of creating new atomic nuclei from pre-existing nucleons. As the stars expel their contents, be it going supernova, solar winds, or solar explosions, these heavier elements along with other “star stuff” are ejected into the interstellar medium where they will later be recycled into another star. This physical process of galactic recycling is how or solar system's mass came to contain 2% of these heavier elements.
Our solar system, as we see it today, originally formed from the collapse of a very cold and low-density cloud of gas. The mass of this cloud was composed of 98% hydrogen and helium, 1.4% hydrogen compounds, .4% rock, and .2% metal. The nebula was thought to be a few light years across and was roughly spherical in shape. The cloud was in a state of balance, it was neither contracting or expanding, until a cataclysmic event, most likely a supernova, created a shock wave through the nebula, resulting in an area of higher mass. Once this area became more massive than the rest of the nebula it begin to collapse with the area of higher mass at the center. Due to the inverse square law of gravity, the gravitational pull of the center mass only increased as the radius of the nebula shrank. The smaller the nebula became the more dense and hot the center turned.
Three distinct things happened as the nebula decreased in size: One, Due to the properties of conservation of energy, as the cloud shrunk the gravitational potential energy of the particles within transformed into thermal energy; two, due to conservation of angular momentum, as the radius of the nebula diminished the cloud would spin faster; three, the nebula transformed from its original spherical shape into a flat, almost round, disk shape. This was due to the collisions of particles within the nebula as it collapsed. All three of these are key points to how and why our solar system formed the way it did.
The sun, the most crucial part of our system, was at the center of this collapsing nebula. As stated above, as the gas cloud shrank the thermal energy increased, due to the conservation of energy. This increased the temperature of the gas's within. The larger the center got the more thermal energy it would produce, hence heating up the cloud further, and the more...

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