The Birth of the Solar System

The Birth of the Solar System


Full film:


Duration: 22 min. Language: English (UK & US), Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Thai, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Korean
Technical data: resolution up to 4K, audio 5.1 available Audience: general audience

How did our solar system originate? What chain of events led to its creation? Just as detectives look for traces of evidence to solve a mystery, astronomers analyze the evidence that points to the formation of the Sun and planets. In particular, they study the influence that impacts and collisions had on the worlds of the solar system. The most dramatic evidence for this collisional history of solar system evolution are the impact craters found on almost all the bodies in the solar system, including Earth. These surface scars tell us the formation history of planets, moons, and rings was violent. Yet today, we live in a relatively stable solar system, made possible by the shattering collisions that shaped our worlds.

This program gives us a unique look at the formation of the solar system by tracing the role that collisions played throughout its history. Beginning with the condensation of the initial cloud of gas and cosmic dust, we explore the history of planetary formation and the mechanism of accretion that played an important role in shaping the worlds of the solar system.

Preview the full show The Birth of the Solar System in current language versions:

Science Education Content

The Birth of the Solar System is a unique look at the formation of the Sun and planets, and the resulting history of the solar system. It brings particular focus onto the role that collisions have played throughout the formational history of the Sun and planets. It takes viewers to places in the solar system to study the aftermath of collisions, and describes how the process of accretion shaped planets and how continuing impacts change their surfaces. These concepts are woven together into a documentary journey and help relate the information presented in the show to the lives of students, families, and the general public.

Show content is relevant in the following subject areas:

Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science Standards

  • objects in the sky: Sun, Moon, planets, moons, rings, comet nuclei, asteroids
  • the role of accretion and impacts in solar system history
  • properties of motion in space
  • properties of solar system objects
  • motions and forces
  • transfer of energy

Science as Inquiry

  • Understanding the concepts behind the formation and evolution of the Sun and solar system objects

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • History of the solar system and Earth's place in it
  • early maps of the sky
  • How we know what we know about the solar system's formation

This show adheres to principles put forth in the National Academy of Sciences' Education Standards (USA) published in 1996. For more details, visit the NAS Standards Web site.

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