Our Earth is a giant mass of land and water floating through space. It is unlike any other planet we know because it supports life. It supplies us with water to drink, food to eat and air to breathe. It is not just our home, it is the only safe haven we have in the universe. But five billion years ago it did not exist. So how did it get here? What strange forces of nature created thins living, breathing planet that we depend on?
How was the Earth formed?
This is a really good question. With a really cool answer and it is a mystery that scientists only now are beginning to solve. They say that it came from a huge cloud in space. Where the Earth now sits in the outer reaches of the Milky way galaxy, there was just a large cloud of gas and dust. This is the astonishing story of what transformed that cloud of dust into our planet as we know it today.
The earth formed around billions of years ago so we do not have any pictures or videos to see it happening. But we can figure out what happened based on some clues.
You might already know that the Sun is a star and the earth is a planet moving around the Sun, as well as Mars and Venus and a bunch of others. Eight planets in all. Together, the sun, and everything moving around it, make up our solar system.
By learning about the solar system and by looking at what’s happening around other stars where planets are first forming now, scientists can get a pretty good idea of where the Sun and planets like Earth came from.
And it all started out as a giant cloud of dust and gas all floating around together in space.
Scientists think, that more than 4 billion years ago, that enormous cloud got a really big shock. We don’t know what exactly caused it, but it could be that a nearby star exploded. Whatever it was, that far away explosion shook the whole dust cloud, and as the dust cloud shook, all of the dust and gas inside begin to move closer together.
Some of the dust and gas in the centre squished together and as more and more gas got squished inside it, the middle of the cloud became very big, very thick and very very hot!
Can you think of what is in the middle of our solar system that is very hot?
That’s right! It is the Sun!
The dust at the centre of the cloud got squished together so much that it started burning up, and it became our brightest star, the Sun.
Even back then, the Sun was so big and so heavy that it was able to pull things closer to it just by being there.
This was because of a force called gravity. The same thing that pulls you back down to the ground when you jump.
A force is anything that’s a push or a pull. Like if you push a table, you are putting a force on that table.
How Gravity Played Role in Formation of Earth?
Gravity is a force just like that. It pulls little things like us close to big things like the Earth. It is almost like a giant magnet that is always there pulling is to the ground and keeping things on Earth from floating into spaceman and billions of years ago, gravity also pulled what was left of the cloud of dust and gas towards the Sun. The dust and gas slowly begin to swirl in a circle around the Sun. It looked a bit like a big disc or a flat circle.
It was starting to look almost like our solar system does now, but the planets were missing. Over time, everything in the disk moved into different rings around the Sun. And then, the dust and gases in the ring began to clump together because something was pulling on them.
You got it! Gravity was pulling everything together! The clumps of gases started to get bigger and bigger until 8 of these clumps basically became baby planets. Over thousands of years, the baby planets gathered more and more material with their gravity, until they became the eight planets of our solar system.
And today, each planet still moves around the Sun, just like when it was a young, growing planet.
It is amazing how much the Earth has changed since then! Everything around us used to be just pieces of dust floating around in Space and now it is this huge amazing planet with all kinds of incredible things living on it, including us! There’s always more to learn about the planet we call home and about space, where all of the other planets are.
Maybe tonight you could visit your nearest observatory and get a closer look at some of them through a telescope.