noun (plural nebulae /-lē/ or nebulas)
1 Astronomy 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.
- Evolutionists believe that the solar system condensed out of a cloud of gas and dust called a nebula, hence the nebular hypothesis.
- We have missions that include active nebulas, swirling dust clouds, moving asteroids and asteroid fields.
- A planetary nebula forms when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers to form bright nebulae with amazing twisted shapes.
1.1(In general use) any indistinct bright area in the night sky, for example, a distant galaxy.
- But soon, performing a visual diminuendo, they drift well astern, a distant nebula of glittering pinpoints at the planet's indistinguishable edge.
- 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.
Mid 17th century (as a medical term): from Latin, literally 'mist'.
For editors and proofreaders
Definition of nebula in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.