Definition of nebula in English:

nebula

noun

  • 1Astronomy
    A cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter.

    • ‘The composition of Phoebe should reflect the composition of the region of the solar nebula where it formed.’
    • ‘For example, consider the shapes of nebulae - those swirling clouds of gas and dust in which newly hatched stars begin to shine.’
    • ‘"Planetary nebulae are shells of gas ejected by dying stars, " Kastner explains.’
    • ‘A planetary nebula forms when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers to form bright nebulae with amazing twisted shapes.’
    • ‘Until recently, it was thought that shells around planetary nebulae were a rare phenomenon.’
    • ‘We have missions that include active nebulas, swirling dust clouds, moving asteroids and asteroid fields.’
    • ‘Thus, meteorites represent a fossil record of the early conditions of the solar nebula.’
    • ‘By what principle the ship created and continued to produce the bubble shielding it from the nebula's gasses.’
    • ‘Edwin Hubble quickly began a detailed study of the spiral nebulae.’
    • ‘Based on the nebula's distance of 650 light-years, its angular size corresponds to a huge ring with a diameter of nearly three light-years.’
    • ‘The reason why most planetary nebulae are not spherical is not well understood.’
    • ‘Evolutionists believe that the solar system condensed out of a cloud of gas and dust called a nebula, hence the nebular hypothesis.’
    • ‘Astronomers suspect that the distant emissions may emanate from the same type of nebulas.’
    • ‘Jupiter's core formed rapidly relative to the rate at which gas was lost from the solar nebula.’
    1. 1.1dated A galaxy.
      • ‘In early 1845, before his telescope was completed, Rosse had resolved his first nebula, discovering it to be a spiral galaxy of stars.’
      • ‘More distant nebulae and galaxies require longer exposure times, and more fiddling.’
      • ‘A number had been discovered in deep space, but to an ordinary telescope each nebula looked like a faint blur; it was difficult to determine whether it was a cloud of gas or a multitude of stars.’
      • ‘The large globe with clustered nebulas and speckled stars and solar systems that were scattered with planets, suns and moons rotated slowly and gently.’
      • ‘But soon, performing a visual diminuendo, they drift well astern, a distant nebula of glittering pinpoints at the planet's indistinguishable edge.’
      • ‘Hubble's discovery showed that spiral nebulae are entire systems of stars in their own right, as huge and as packed with stars as our own Milky Way.’
      • ‘The colours of unreachable nebulas mingled with the darkness and desolation of space.’
      • ‘In further studies, he showed that these nebulas are actually other galaxies, and he went on to classify them.’
      • ‘It is a nebulae system, planets and stars bobbing in and out of blue, purple, and pink stardust.’
      • ‘We sometimes use the word nebula to refer to galaxies, various types of star clusters, and various kinds of interstellar dust or gas clouds.’
      • ‘Smudges like this are called nebulae, because they look nebulous - like hazy clouds.’
      • ‘It was only in the 1920's that the American astronomer Hubble established that some of these nebulae were indeed distant galaxies comparable in size to our own Milky Way.’
      • ‘Then if he'd looked farther, deeper, he saw star systems, colorful nebulas never before seen in his dreams.’
      • ‘Originally, the word nebula referred to almost any extended astronomical object (other than planets and comets).’
      • ‘Stars, as far as the eye can see, and two of them, pretty close, with a string of planets orbiting between them, the whole family swimming in a pink, blue, and purple nebula.’
      • ‘I can see the stars outside, the swirling patterns of distant nebulae.’
      • ‘One of the nicest sectors I ever saw is Ocean of Fantasy, a sector rounded by a bright green nebula.’
      • ‘Hubble realized that these spiral nebulae were so far away they were actually galaxies - separate cities of stars - far beyond our own Milky Way.’
      • ‘The picture has widened and deepened ever since; fuzzy nebulae were revealed to be other galaxies, as full of stars as our own, and the chemistry of the stars yielded to spectrum analysis.’
      • ‘Heber Curtis had been correct in the 1920 debate; many of the nebulae were indeed remote galaxies.’
      • ‘Then Edward Hubble discovered that the nebulae were other galaxies like ours only much further away than was thought possible.’
      star system, solar system, constellation, cluster
      View synonyms
  • 2Medicine
    A clouded spot on the cornea causing defective vision.

    • ‘It treats conjunctivitis, pterygium, nebula and pain in the eyes.’
    • ‘The bruise over his eye had settled in to a purple nearly matching the nebula itself, but the swelling had reduced dramatically.’

Origin

Mid 17th century (as a medical term): from Latin, literally ‘mist’.

Pronunciation

nebula

/ˈnɛbjʊlə/