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The Coolest Nebulae in the Milky Way

A cool nebula in interstellar space

The Milky Way galaxy is home to our Earth, our Solar System, and plenty of other celestial wonders, including some seriously cool nebulae! Of course, the coolest nebula in the Milky Way depends on who you ask, so we recommend taking the time to learn about them. For this blog post, we’ve chosen to highlight the Eagle Nebula. Read on to discover why the Eagle Nebula is so neat!

What Are Nebulae?

Before we get into specific nebulae, it’s important that you understand what they are. To put it simply, they’re massive clouds of dust and gas (mainly helium and hydrogen) in interstellar space—the space between the stars. Some of them are formed by explosions caused by dying stars called supernovas. Others often referred to as “star nurseries,” are actually new “infant” stars in the process of being formed.

The Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula is one cool nebula, mainly because of its stunning beauty and distinctive shape. Also known as the Star Queen Nebula, this majestic marvel was discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745–46. It’s located in the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way, and it’s famously known for a specific section called the Pillars of Creation that was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 in 1995.

The Pillars of Creation

The Eagle Nebula in the Milky Way

The Pillars of Creation is a relatively tiny portion of the Eagle Nebula. It’s famous because the pillars resemble a hand, giving the photo a very surreal quality that conjures visions of divine entities reaching through time and space. In short, it’s one cool nebula to look at and let your mind wander.

It’s impossible for the human mind to comprehend the size of any nebula in the Milky Way, but it sure is fun to try!

The Pillars of Creation are approximately 4-5 light-years in size, meaning it would take light 4-5 Earth years to travel the distance of the Pillars of Creation. That’s pretty big, right? We’re just getting started!

With a gargantuan size of 70 by 55 light-years, it would take around 70 years for light to travel the longest distance of the Eagle Nebula. That’s an unfathomable size, but it’s still not even close to the biggest cool nebula out there!

The largest known nebula in the Milky Way, the Gum Nebula, is approximately 1,000 light-years in diameter, while the largest known nebula, the Tarantula Nebula, is a staggering 1,800 light-years at its longest distance!

Add a Nebula Vibe to Your Home

We encourage you to take a moment to look at the many photos of nebulae out there—they’re truly awe-inspiring. If you want to bring the gorgeous colors and abstract nature of cool nebulas into your life, check out our collection of helium and hydrogen gas tubes. In addition to seeing what the nebulas are truly made of, you can put on a pair of our linear diffraction glasses to watch how the spectrum of light breaks apart with both gasses!

While you’re here, explore all of our products to discover fascinating, science-based items that inspire a sense of wonder and stimulate the imagination. You can find more content about rainbows, solar astronomy, and so much more on our blog. So, find your favorite nebula in the Milky Way and bring the magic of interstellar space to your home with unique products from Rainbow Symphony.