The Orion Nebula
Click on image for full size
Nebulae - The Dust of Stars
Why would we call nebulae stardust? Because the gas in nebulae is
used to make new stars, and dying stars create nebulae from their
gas. While stars are made of very hot, dense gas, the gas in nebulae
is cool and spread out. Water is at least 1,000,000,000,000,000 times
as dense as the gas found in nebulae.
Nebulae come in a variety of shapes. But their appearance is usually
due to the type of energy source which is lighting them up. There is
lot of gas that we can't see in the Galaxy. Something must happen for the
nebulae to reveal themselves.
So, what happens to make nebulae glow? It depends on the type of
nebulae. Some are involved in the formation of new stars. These are
stellar nurseries called HII
regions. The young stars found in HII regions are extremely hot
and provide a lot of energy for lighting up nebulae. Some nebulae are
created by dying stars: supernova
remnants and the planetary nebulae surrounding white
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