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This drawing shows how forming planets drew molecules to themselves for an atmosphere.
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Image from: The New Solar System

How a planet-to-be sweeps up nearby material to be part of itself

As shown in this picture, while they were forming in the solar nebula, the core of the planets-to-be drew material to themselves from the cloud of gas and dust around them. The bigger planets-to-be were able to draw even more material unto themselves because of gravity.

Because of it's position in the solar nebula, the proto-Jupiter, was able to draw an enormous amount of gas unto itself, and become the biggest of the planets.


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