Subscribe Now! National Geographic Magazine $15
Visit our Online Shops

Sign up for free

Newsletters

Once a month
get new photos
and expert tips.

Planet Formation

Photo: Artwork of planet formation
An artist's rendering shows one theory of how certain large planets called gas giants might form around a young star. In this recipe, gravity causes the disk of gas and dust circling the star to collapse into several dense clouds, shown as bright clumps in this drawing. Each cloud shrinks rapidly, creating a core surrounded by gas. "It's a pretty picture," says astrophysicist Alan Boss, a primary proponent of the theory. But he admits there is much work left to do to flesh out the scenario. "It's still just a fairy tale."
Artwork courtesy Moonrunner Design

Space Topics

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Photo: 2009 Winner

Photo Contest

Find out who takes home the Grand Prize!

Photo: Man carrying a kayak

Adventure Videos

Check out adventure videos from our West Coast Adventure Editor Steve Casimiro and go "Behind the Lens."

Natural Disasters

Photo: A tornado

Get the science behind avalanches, tsunamis, and more.

Support Conservation

Photo: Two penguins

Help conserve the world's natural resources.