Astrophysics (Index)About


(cloud of dust and gas)

The term nebula is currently used for a cloud of gas and dust, typically visible, and including star-forming regions and supernova remnants. The Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex is an example of the former and Crab Nebula of the latter.

This usage of the term is a modification of its original, more general meaning, an object in the sky that appears fuzzy rather than point-like or well-defined (as is the Moon) and not detectably moving against the celestial sphere (as are comets). In particular, galaxies and some star clusters (e.g., some open clusters and globular clusters) were referred to as nebulae. For example, Andromeda was called the Great Andromeda Nebula. This usage isn't entirely dead as its use in the names and contents of older catalogs that include galaxies, such as the Messier Catalog, which was created under the name, Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters. The term's usage shifted as observations began to distinguish galaxies from other such objects, and as the nature of galaxies became understood.

The word is also used within some phrases that indicate particular kinds of "fuzzy" objects, such as planetary nebula and protoplanetary nebula.

(object type,cloud type)
Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
Caldwell Catalog
Cederblad Catalog (Ced)
infrared cirrus
cosmic dust
dark nebula
diffuse emission
Atlas of Galactic Nebulae (GN)
Herbig-Haro object (HH)
HII region (HII)
Index Catalog (IC)
Kapteyn universe
Lynds Bright Nebula Catalog (LBN)
Lynds Catalog of Dark Nebulae (LDN)
Crab Nebula (M1)
Andromeda (M31)
MASH Catalog of Planetary Nebulae
Messier Catalog (M)
molecular cloud
near infrared (NIR)
nebular hypothesis
New General Catalogue (NGC)
Spindle Galaxy (NGC 5866)
Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC)
Orion Nebula (M42)
Parsamian Nebula Catalog
passive dust
pre-main-sequence star (PMS)
planetary nebula (PN)
planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF)
protoplanetary nebula (PPN)
protoplanetary disk (PPD)
pulsar wind nebula (PWN)
reflection nebula
Sharpless Catalog (Sh2)
supernova remnant (SNR)
solar nebula
solid angle (Ω)
surface brightness (SB)
Taurus Molecular Cloud 1 (TMC-1)
Trapezium Cluster
T Tauri
Van Den Bergh Reflection Nebula Catalog (vdB)
VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS)
Westerhout Radio Survey (W)
William Herschel Telescope (WHT)