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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is a schematic showing the forming solar system.
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C. Alexander

The Formation of the Solar System out of the Primordial Nebula

The solar system contracted out of a rotating cloud of hydrogen and helium gas. The momentum of the rotation flattened the originally round cloud into a disk, somewhat the way a ball of pizza dough can be made flat by spinning it in the air. As it flattened, gaseous material condensed, then collected together to form more solid material.


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Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

The Co-Formation Theory

The co-formation theory explains the origin of the moon as an object which formed out of the primitive solar nebula at the same time and roughly the same place as the Earth. As shown in this picture, while...more

The position of Jupiter when gas changed to ice

The position of the planets in the solar nebula greatly affected their 1. size and 2. composition. This is because of the effect of how cold it was in the nebula. 1. The nebula was a lot warmer close to...more

Solar System Formation

Scientists believe that the solar system was for med when a cloud of gas and dust in space was disturbed, maybe by the supernova of a nearby star. Shock waves from the explosion compressed the cloud of...more

An Overview of the Evolution of Jupiter's Atmosphere

Atmospheres of the giant planets have definetely evolved from their formation out of the primitive solar nebula. How much they have evolved remains to be seen, however. Because of their enormous gravity,...more

Jupiter's Mesosphere

The mesosphere of Jupiter is a region of balance between warming and cooling. That essentially means that nothing happens there. Except for diffusion, the atmosphere is still. Upper reaches of the atmosphere,...more

An Overview of Jupiter's Atmospheric Structure

As on Earth, the atmosphere of Jupiter consists of a troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. The troposphere is the region where the visible clouds are to be found. The stratosphere, as...more

Jupiter's Stratosphere

The stratosphere of Jupiter is a region of warming as determined by infrared measurements of methane (CH4) in the region. Like the troposphere, the stratosphere is warmed by the sun, warmed by Jupiter's...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF