Definition of nebula in English:


Translate nebula into Spanish

nounplural noun nebulae/-lē/ , plural noun nebulas

  • 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.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, consider the shapes of nebulae - those swirling clouds of gas and dust in which newly hatched stars begin to shine.’
    • ‘Until recently, it was thought that shells around planetary nebulae were a rare phenomenon.’
    • ‘"Planetary nebulae are shells of gas ejected by dying stars, " Kastner explains.’
    • ‘The reason why most planetary nebulae are not spherical is not well understood.’
    • ‘Thus, meteorites represent a fossil record of the early conditions of the solar nebula.’
    • ‘Jupiter's core formed rapidly relative to the rate at which gas was lost from the solar nebula.’
    • ‘The composition of Phoebe should reflect the composition of the region of the solar nebula where it formed.’
    • ‘Edwin Hubble quickly began a detailed study of the spiral nebulae.’
    • ‘By what principle the ship created and continued to produce the bubble shielding it from the nebula's gasses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Astronomers suspect that the distant emissions may emanate from the same type of nebulas.’
    1. 1.1 dated (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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can see the stars outside, the swirling patterns of distant nebulae.’
      • ‘More distant nebulae and galaxies require longer exposure times, and more fiddling.’
      • ‘Smudges like this are called nebulae, because they look nebulous - like hazy clouds.’
      • ‘Originally, the word nebula referred to almost any extended astronomical object (other than planets and comets).’
      • ‘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.’
      star system, solar system, constellation, cluster, nebula
  • 2Medicine
    A clouded spot on the cornea causing defective vision.

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



/ˈnebyələ/ /ˈnɛbjələ/


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