This image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases the emission nebula NGC 2313. Emission nebulae are bright, diffuse clouds of ionized gas that emit their own light.

The bright star V565 (center of the image) highlights a silvery, fan-shaped veil of gas and dust, while the right half of this image is obscured by a dense cloud of dust. Nebulae with similar shapes were once called “cometary nebulae” because the star with an accompanying bright fan looked like a comet with a bright tail.

The language that astronomers use changes as we become better acquainted with the universe, and astronomical history is littered with now-obsolete phrases to describe objects in the night sky, such as “spiral nebulae” for spiral galaxies.

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble, R. Sahai

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