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Teach Astronomy - Condensation in the Solar Nebula

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Published on Jul 8, 2010

http://www.teachastronomy.com/
If the solar nebula had cooled uniformly throughout, there would be no composition variations in the solar system. Instead, the young Sun remained hot, and the inner regions of the solar nebulae were hotter than the outer regions. As a result, the condensation sequence can be used to explain the composition differences of the inner and outer solar system. At the distances of the inner planets, several astronomical units, the temperatures are high enough that only iron, nickel, and silicates could condense out, forming the rocky basis for the terrestrial planets. Around the distance of the middle of the asteroid belt the temperature was low enough for black carbonaceous compounds to condense out, forming the soot line. At the edge of the asteroid belt ices begin to condense out at the temperature of a few hundred Kelvin; this is the frost line. And in the entire outer solar system ices can condense. These ices remain in a solid form even in the presence of direct sunlight. Thus, the entire outer solar system is filled with icy material.

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