In a new theory of planet formation, planets develop inside the cores of giant gas clumps. Showing the birth of a super-Earth (a planet several times the mass of Earth), the beginning of this simulation shows gas clumps (yellow) developing at different distances from the parent star. As the clumps move inward, dust settles at their cores and forms solid objects (black). As clumps are pulled toward the parent star, the gassy envelope is stripped off and a solid planet is unveiled.
Credit: Seung-Hoon Cha, S. Nayakshin/arxiv.org/abs/1010.1489