A shock to the solar system

Scientists suspect a nearby exploding star ignited the formation of the sun and planets

By Stephen Ornes, 17:26 PM November 30, 2011

No one was around when the solar system formed, but some scientists say it began with a blast. And they mean a big one: A nearby supernova, or explosion of a giant star, may have provided the oomph that jump-started the formation of the sun and planets.

Scientists suspect that more than 4.5 billion years ago, our swath of space had no sun, no asteroids, no planets, and no arguments about Pluto. Were you to go back in time, you’d instead find a large cloud of cold gas and dust. Obviously, it...

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