emission nebula

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emission nebula (plural emission nebulae or emission nebulas)

  1. (astronomy) A nebula composed of ionized gases which produce visible light (as distinct from a reflection nebula, which reflects the light produced by neighboring stars).
    • 2000 Oct. 12, Prof. Daniel Styer, "Nebulae," Oberlin College Physics Department (retrieved 7 April 2014):
      The Orion nebula is an emission nebula—it glows with its own light.
    • 2005 June 5, Suzanne MacNeille, "On a Dig or Through a Telescope, You Just Might Learn Something," New York Times (retrieved 7 April 2014):
      Kitt Peak National Observatory, in Arizona, 56 miles southwest of Tucson, offers a rare opportunity to spend an entire night looking through powerful telescopes at galaxies, planetary emission nebulae and star clusters.