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A nebula ( Latin for "cloud"; pl. nebulae, nebulæ, or nebulas) is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Originally, nebula was a name for any diffuse astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy, for instance, was once referred to as the Andromeda Nebula (and spiral galaxies in general as "spiral nebulae") before the true nature of galaxies was confirmed in the early 20th century by Vesto Slipher, Edwin Hubble and others.

Most nebulae are of vast size, even millions of light years in diameter. Contrary to fictional depictions where starships hide in nebulae as thick as cloud banks, in reality a nebula that is barely visible to the human eye from Earth would appear larger, but no brighter, from close by. The Orion Nebula, the brightest nebula in the sky that occupies a region twice the diameter of the full Moon, can be viewed with the naked eye but was missed by early astronomers. Although denser than the space surrounding them, most nebulae are far less dense than any vacuum created on Earth – a nebular cloud the size of the Earth would have a total mass of only a few kilograms. Many nebulae are visible due to their fluorescence caused by the embedded hot stars, while others are so diffuse they can only be detected with long exposures and special filters. Some nebulae are variably illuminated by T Tauri variable stars. Nebulae are often star-forming regions, such as in the " Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. In these regions the formations of gas, dust, and other materials "clump" together to form denser regions, which attract further matter, and eventually will become dense enough to form stars. The remaining material is then believed to form planets and other planetary system objects.

Nebula (disambiguation)

A nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in space.

Nebula may also refer to:

Nebula (moth)

Nebula is a genus of moth in the family Geometridae.

Nebula (computing platform)

Nebula is a Federal cloud computing platform that originated at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. The Nebula project was run under the ACITS 2 contract originally held by Perot Systems. Nebula hosted many advanced research projects. One application Open Sourced by NASA and developed by the Nebula project, 'nova' became one of the two founding projects of the OpenStack project.

Nebula (company)

Nebula, Inc. was a hardware and software company with offices in Mountain View, California, USA and Seattle, Washington, USA. Nebula is the developer of Nebula One, a cloud computing hardware appliance that turns the customer's racks of standard servers into a private cloud. The Nebula One private cloud system is built on the OpenStack open source cloud framework, as well as many other open source software projects.

Nebula (band)

Nebula are a psychedelic/ stoner rock band, formed by guitarist Eddie Glass and drummer Ruben Romano upon departing Fu Manchu in 1997. Mark Abshire soon joined as the band's original bassist. Nebula have been on indefinite hiatus since early 2010 but have not broken up.

Abshire remained with the band until the recording of Atomic Ritual (2003) which was produced by Chris Goss of Kyuss fame. Dennis Wilson & Simon Moon (Eddie Glass) stepped in as bassists until a more permanent replacement was found in Tom Davies. Atomic Ritual was released to warm critical praise, with AMG calling Nebula a "hard-working power trio [that] sounds like it has been hanging out in the garage since 1973, blissfully unaware of the changing world outside. Which is definitely to its benefit". [] Rob Oswald replaced founding member Ruben Romano on drums in 2007.

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In August 2009, Adam Kriney, formerly of La Otracina, was recruited to replace departing drummer Oswald, though he too announced his departure in January 2010 and was replaced by Jimmy Sweet. In early 2010, Nebula announced that it was going on an indefinite hiatus. Glass later explained that "things started getting a bit rough with the touring and I got sick of it", though Nebula were merely "taking a break for a while" and not breaking up.

Nebula (comics)

Nebula is a fictional character, an alien supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Roger Stern and John Buscema, the character first appeared in The Avengers #257 (July 1985). A pirate and mercenary operating in outer space, the character has frequently appeared as an enemy of the Avengers and the Silver Surfer.

Nebula has appeared in several other media adaptations of the Marvel comics, including animated television series and video games. Actress Karen Gillan portrays the character in the 2014 live-action film Guardians of the Galaxy set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Nebula (1935)

Nebula was a Nepali language magazine published in India. The name Nebula was an acronym of Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha, symbolising the unity between these ethnic groups. The magazine was founded in February 1935. It was the organ of the Hill People's Social Union. The magazine ceased publication in 1936.

The Collaborative International Dictionary


Nebula \Neb"u*la\ (n[e^]b"[-u]*l[.a]), n.; pl. Nebul[ae] (n[e^]b"[-u]*l[=e]). [L., mist, cloud; akin to Gr. nefe`lh, ne`fos, cloud, mist, G. nebel mist, OHG. nebul, D. nevel, Skr. nabhas cloud, mist. Cf. Nebule.]

  1. (Astron.) A faint, cloudlike, self-luminous mass of matter situated beyond the solar system among the stars. The term was originally applied to any diffuse luminous region. Now, technically, it is applied to interstellar clouds of dust and gases ( diffuse nebula). However distant galaxies and very distant star clusters often appear like them in the telescope, such as the spiral nebula in Andromeda, known now to be a distant galaxy.

  2. (Med.)

    1. A white spot or a slight opacity of the cornea.

    2. A cloudy appearance in the urine. [Obs.]

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


▪ the Crab nebula
▪ A nearby nebula, orange and pink, was the lurid gaseous residue of an explosion.
▪ According to present-day ideas, a star begins its career by condensing out of a cloud of dust and gas known as a nebula.
▪ As before, the star condenses out of a nebula, heats up, and begins to shine by the hydrogen-into-helium process.
▪ By sheer coincidence Kappa Crucis lies at the edge of the dark nebula known as the Coal Sack.
▪ Explosions flared like novas inside a dust nebula.
▪ The nebula is nearly 50 light-years in diameter, and may owe much of its illumination to Deneb.
▪ The Eta Carinæ nebula is visible with the naked eye.
▪ Then, for a relative blink of about 1, 000 years or less, the star becomes a planetary nebula.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


early 15c., nebule "a cloud, mist," from Latin nebula "mist, vapor, fog, smoke, exhalation," figuratively "darkness, obscurity," from PIE *nebh- "cloud" (cognates: Sanskrit nabhas- "vapor, cloud, mists, fog, sky;" Greek nephele, nephos "cloud;" German Nebel "fog;" Old English nifol "dark, gloomy;" Welsh niwl "cloud, fog;" Slavic nebo).\n

\nRe-borrowed from Latin 1660s in sense of "cataracts in the eye;" astronomical meaning "cloud-like patch in the night sky" first recorded c.1730. As early as Hershel (1802) astronomers realized that some nebulae were star clusters, but certain distinction of relatively nearby cosmic gas clouds from distant galaxies was not made until 1920s, using the new 100-inch Mt. Wilson telescope.



n. 1 (context astronomy English) A cloud in outer space consisting of gas or dust (e.g. a cloud formed after a star explodes). 2 (context archaic medicine English) A white spot or slight opacity of the cornea. 3 (context obsolete medicine English) A cloudy appearance in the urine



  1. n. a medicinal liquid preparation intended for use in an atomizer

  2. cloudiness of the urine

  3. an immense cloud of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust in interstellar space

  4. (pathology) a faint cloudy spot on the cornea

  5. [also: nebulae (pl)]

Usage examples of "nebula".

Let us ask the astronomers who originate cosmogonical hypotheses, and invent a primitive nebula, the natural philosophers who dream that by the deterioration of energy and the dissipation of movement the material world will obtain final rest in the inertia of a homogeneous equilibrium, let us ask the biologists and psychologists who are enemies of fixed species and inquisitive about ancestral history.

It won the Nebula Award for 1983, and was also a Hugo Finalist that year.

He has several times been a finalist for the Nebula Award, as well as for the World Fantasy Award and for the John W.

Nebula award for best novelette in 1967 and was a finalist for the Hugo in the same year.

Hugo and Nebula Awards finalist some twenty times-more than any other writer.

She has been a Nebula Awards finalist four of the seven years the awards have been presented.

Floating alone amid the fragmented debris and vacuum-chilled nebula, the lifeboat let out a passionless electromagnetic shriek for help.

Frozen in time on a solitary ship, floating through the purple gasses of a nebula that neither cared or noticed.

Last time Kyp had fired the torpedoes into supergiant stars in a nebula.

The point-sources were indeed stived as densely as lice on the head of a harijan, but I could find no mappings to the point-exits in the nebula which lay before me, the nebula called the Solid State Entity.

And what miracles are there in coronium and nebulium which, as the child of nebula and sun, we inherit?

Because I knew that for certain, too, that nutsy Zora, with her rages, speeches, scraps of quotes, with her warm whispers for me, her smell of lotion, her wal1eye, her midnight pacing, meetings, and constant grumbling at the way of the world-that she was swirling like some nebula around a livid core of pain.

For as long as I know I have never done, nor even designed, an injury to any being whatever, Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis Arbor aestiva recreatur aura, Quod latus mundi nebulae, malusque Jupiter urget.

Spirit-created planets, fresh bubbles of universes, wisdom-stars, spectral dreams of golden nebulae on the skyey bosom of Infinity!

The spiral form of the nebula is unmistakable, but it is half obliterated amid the turmoil of flying masses hurled away on all sides with tornadic fury.