Information about Nebulae

What is Nebula?

A Nebula is is an interstellar cloud of dusthydrogenhelium and other ionized gases

Originally, nebula was a name for any extended astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy, for instance, was referred to as the Andromeda Nebula before galaxies were discovered by Edwin Hubble. Nebulae are often star-forming regions, such as in the Eagle Nebula. This nebula is depicted in one of NASA's most famous images, the "Pillars of Creation".
In these regions the formations of gas, dust, and other materials "clump" together to form larger masses, which attract further matter, and eventually will become massive enough to form stars. The remaining materials are then believed to form planets, and other planetary system objects.

Nebula formation

Many nebulae or stars form from the gravitational collapse of gas in the interstellar medium or ISM. As the material collapses under its own weight, massive stars may form in the center, and their ultraviolet radiation ionizes the surrounding gas, making it visible at optical wavelengths. Examples of these types of nebulae are the Rosette Nebulaand the Pelican Nebula. The size of these nebulae, known as HII regions, varies depending on the size of the original cloud of gas. New stars are formed in the nebulas. The formed stars are sometimes known as a young, loose cluster.

Some nebulae are formed as the result of supernova explosions, the death throes of massive, short-lived stars. The materials thrown off from the supernova explosion are ionized by the energy and the compact object that it can produce. One of the best examples of this is the Crab Nebula, in Taurus. The supernova event was recorded in the year 1054 and is labelled SN 1054. The compact object that was created after the explosion lies in the center of the Crab Nebula and is a neutron star.
Other nebulae may form as planetary nebulae. This is the final stage of a low-mass star's life, like Earth's Sun. Starswith a mass up to 8–10 solar masses evolve into red giants and slowly lose their outer layers during pulsations in their atmospheres. When a star has lost enough material, its temperature increases and the ultraviolet radiation it emits canionize the surrounding nebula that it has thrown off. The nebula is almost 97% hydrogen and 3% helium, plus trace amounts of other elements.

Types of Nebula

Emission Nebula
An emission nebula is a cloud of ionized gas emitting light of various colors. The most common source of ionization is high-energy photons emitted from a nearby hot star. Among the several different types of emission nebulae are H II regions, in which star formation is taking place and young, massive stars are the source of the ionizing photons; and planetary nebulae, in which a dying star has thrown off its outer layers, with the exposed hot core then ionizing them.

Dark Nebula
dark nebula is a type of interstellar cloud that is so dense that it obscures the light from the background emissionor reflection nebula (e.g., the Horsehead Nebula) or that it blocks out background stars (e.g., the Snake Nebula). The extinction of the light is caused by interstellar dust grains located in the coldest, densest parts of larger molecular clouds. Clusters and large complexes of dark nebulae are associated with Giant Molecular Clouds. Isolated small dark nebulae are called Bok globules. Like other interstellar dust/material, things it obscures are only visible using radio waves in radio astronomy or infrared in infrared astronomy.

Planetary Nebula
Planetary nebulae form from the gaseous shells that are ejected from low-mass asymptotic giant branch stars when they transform into white dwarfs. They are emission nebulae with spectra similar to those of emission nebulae found in star formation regions. Technically they are HII regions, because most hydrogen will be ionized, but they are denser and more compact than the nebulae in star formation regions. Planetary nebulae were given their name by the first astronomical observers who became able to distinguish them from planets, who tended to confuse them with planets, of more interest to them. Our Sun is expected to spawn a planetary nebula about 12 billion years after its formation.

A protoplanetary nebula (PPN) is an astronomical object which is at the short-lived episode during a star's rapid stellar evolution between the late asymptotic giant branch (LAGB) phase and the following planetary nebula (PN) phase. During the AGB phase, the star undergoes mass loss, emitting a circumstellar shell of hydrogen gas. When this phase comes to an end, the star enters the PPN phase.
The PPN is energized by the central star, causing it to emit strong infrared radiation and become a reflection nebula. Collaminated stellar winds from the central star shape and shock the shell into an axially symmetric form, while producing a fast moving molecular wind. The exact point when a PPN becomes a planetary nebula (PN) is defined by the temperature of the central star. The PPN phase continues until the central star reaches a temperature of 30,000 K, after which is it hot enough to ionize the surrounding gas.

Supernova remnants
supernova occurs when a high-mass star reaches the end of its life. When nuclear fusion in the core of the star stops, the star collapses. The gas falling inward either rebounds or gets so strongly heated that it expands outwards from the core, thus causing the star to explode. The expanding shell of gas forms a supernova remnant, a special diffuse nebula. Although much of the optical and X-ray emission from supernova remnants originates from ionized gas, a great amount of the radio emission is a form of non-thermal emission called synchrotron emission. This emission originates from high-velocity electronsoscillating within magnetic fields.

Sources: Wikipedia, various other sources

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