A nebula is basically a cloud made up of gas and dust located in space. Some nebulae are regions where new stars are constantly forming, while others are remains of dying stars. Nebulae come in many different shapes and sizes.


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Magellan Cloud, Crab Nebula

What is a nebula?

It is one of the most beautiful formations that can be observed in space and are interstellar dust clouds composed mostly of helium, hydrogen and other ionized gases, and is the place where stars are formed.


The word nebula is a general term used to describe the different types of gas and dust clouds that exist in interstellar space. In other words, we can say that nebulae are concentrations of gas in which we can find hydrogen, helium and stellar dust. They are structures that actually are very important for our universe, because inside, is the place where stars are born, which arise due to the condensation and aggregation of matter.

Some nebulae are places where new stars are born, but there are also other types of nebulae in which we can find the remains of a series of dead or dying stars.

Characteristics of the nebula

The main characteristics of the nebula are as follows:

Types of nebula

There are four main types of nebula:


Nebulae form when a star detaches its outermost layers when it no longer has fuel to burn. These outermost layers of gas expand into space, creating a nebula that is usually shaped like a ring or bubble. They are formed in the last stage of a star’s life and the layers of gas it expels during this process are visible for a few hundred years.


Thanks to the scientists and technicians who operate the Hubble Space Telescope and many other incredibly complex and sensitive instruments, we have the privilege of seeing the nebulae in all their majesty. Some of them can be seen from the Earth.

How it differs from a galaxy

The difference between both of them lies in the fact that the nebula is a cloud in space made up of gases and dust while galaxies are a whole, composed of planets, stars, dust, nebulae and other interstellar elements that are united by gravity.


Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

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