"In the beginning...the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Six thousand years or more after those words were written by our Biblical forebears, that's still what our learned scientists believe about the origin of our Earth and solar system.
You may have already seen the image of mine of M42 - The Orion Nebula - on this blog a few weeks ago, but don't leave yet; here's what it should look like with a bigger telescope and the professional expertise of my amateur astronomer friend Paul Gardner. When the new picture comes up click on it for an even larger view. Totally awesome!
This area is a cosmic star factory and one of the most beautiful wonders within reach of the amateur telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope and other new telescopes now in service can see much farther inside these and other clouds of luminous gases to actually see new stars - protostars - and presumably other planetary systems being born before our superenhanced eyes. -- Dalton Hammond