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What Is a Nebula?

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Quick Answer

Usually several light years across, a nebula is an extremely large cluster of clouds and dust often found between stars. Nebulae are made of many elements including carbon, hydrogen and helium.

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What Is a Nebula?
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Full Answer

Some nebulae create their own light, which sometimes has a fluorescent appearance, while others only reflect the light from nearby stars. Nebulae are often seen around dying stars, and it's thought they may be a natural process that occurs when a star is nearing the end of its life. Nebulae resemble thin clouds that have less atoms per cubic inch than a cloud of smoke. The Crab Nebula, located in the Taurus constellation, is 10 light years across and 6,500 light years from Earth.

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