astronomy Creation/evolution Physics

How did the Solar System form?

—A new analysis suggests that it didn’t (naturalistically, at least).

Evolutionary astronomers allege that the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago and scientists have for a very long time been trying to model that formation process using powerful computer simulations. New research has shown that the inner rocky planets and the asteroid belt in our solar system cannot simultaneously form naturalistically.

An online news article from the journal Nature discusses this new research, stating:1

Standard planet-formation models have been unable to reconstruct the distributions of the Solar System’s small, rocky planets and asteroids in the same simulation. (emphasis added)

Simulations ss
Figure 1: Schematic of the inner planets and asteroid belt in the solar system. Actual solar system (a) and simulated inner solar systems (b & c). From Ref. 1.

That means no matter what the simulations are seeded with in terms of the size and mass distribution of the planetary embryos and planetesimals, the correct observed size, orbits and masses of the planets and the asteroid belt cannot be obtained from the same simulation.1

Despite decades of attempts, no computational realization of standard formation theories has reproduced the mass and orbital distribution of both the terrestrial planets and the asteroids. Writing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Izidoro et al. show that this is not possible. (emphasis added)

Starting conditions made easy for evolution

The simulations are not started with the gas/dust nebular cloud but at a point assumed where planetary sized bodies have already formed from accumulation of mass. So the initial embryos are ten or twenty large planet-size bodies and several thousand small planetesimals, which are at most a few hundred kilometres across. These are the starting conditions for the simulations.

Then computer simulations are run (or allowed to evolve under standard gravitational physics) with various initial parameters in an effort to produce the solar system we observe.

As the system evolves, the strong gravitational pull that embryos receive from the giant planets and from each other deforms the embryos’ orbits, which begin to cross. A cascade of collisions follows, forming planets as the embryos merge and collect planetesimals. Leftover planetesimals become asteroids.1

In the actual observed solar system, the planets Venus and Earth are comparable in mass, and orbit between the smaller planets Mercury and Mars (See Fig. 1 a). But standard computer models have what is known as the ‘Mars problem.’  That is, in place of Mars, another planet forms, which is comparable in size to Earth, and additional Mars-sized embryos can get stuck in the asteroid belt.

[The] main result is that no matter what the density profile, it is impossible both to solve the Mars problem and to build a correctly structured asteroid belt (Fig. 1 b,c). Steep density profiles reproduce the terrestrial planets fairly well, unlike shallow profiles.1

I have previously discussed the problem of star formation via the alleged solar nebular theory.2 Also I have discussed the difficulties of solar system formation from that nebular cloud with a Creator.3 This new research highlights another intractable problem for planetary formation.

Why not admit that man is deficient in his knowledge? Our all-knowing God has told us that He created the planets of the solar system and that was about 6000 years ago. God said He created the “stars also” (Genesis 1:16).4 He said “… my right hand has spanned the heavens [meaning He placed them in the cosmos with His hand]: when I call to them, they stand up together [meaning He created them at once].” (Isaiah 48:13).


  1. K.Tsiganis, Planetary science: How the Solar System didn’t form, Nature, News and Views, 528: 202–204, 2015
  2. J.G. Hartnett, Stars just don’t form naturally—‘dark matter’ the ‘god of the gaps’ is needed, 1 September 2015.
  3. J.G. Hartnett, A ‘protoplanetary system’ in formation? September 28, 2015 and J.G. Hartnett, Planetary system formation: exposing naturalistic storytelling, April 14, 2016.
  4. The Hebrew kokab for ‘star’ means any small bright object in the sky, so also includes planets, which have a similar appearance to Earth-bound observers.

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.