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A nebula is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space. Made mostly of hydrogen and helium, the nebulae (more than one nebula) are the space between the stars. Interestingly, this space is also known as interstellar space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often takes to social media to share about the nebulae that leave people mesmerised. While these cosmic objects are known by interesting monikers, this particular article is about the ones that are named after the animals.

This image of the Crab Nebula will leave you stunned. (Instagram/@nasa)

1. Cat’s Eye Nebula

It is one of the first planetary nebulae to be discovered. “If you’ve ever gazed into the eyes of #cat, you know how fascinating those shapes & colours can be. The Cat’s Eye Nebula is no different. The kind of nebula produced by stars like our Sun — but later in life — often have curious qualities that leave us mesmerised,” NASA once shared on Instagram while posting a picture of this wonderful cosmic object.

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The image shows Cat's Eye Nebula. (Instagram/@nasachandraxray)
The image shows Cat’s Eye Nebula. (Instagram/@nasachandraxray)

2. Jellyfish Nebula

“The Jellyfish Nebula, also known by its official name IC 443, is the remnant of a supernova lying 5,000 light years from Earth,” according to NASA.

An incredible image shows the Jellyfish Nebula. (NASA)
An incredible image shows the Jellyfish Nebula. (NASA)

3. Tarantula Nebula

“A cluster of glowing blue stars closer to the right side in the centre of the image. The stars are concentrated at the centre and then spread sparsely throughout the image. Burnt orange and tan coloured gas and dust surround the stars and encompass the entire image. A dark formation takes up the centre of the nebula,” this is what NASA wrote while sharing an image of the Tarantula Nebula.

This picture of the Tarantula Nebula will leave you in awe. (Instagram/@nasa)
This picture of the Tarantula Nebula will leave you in awe. (Instagram/@nasa)

4. Butterfly Nebula

How did this nebula come into existence? According to NASA, “This nebula formed after a star like our Sun used up most of its fuel and shed its outer layers of material.”

Did this image of the Butterfly Nebula make you say ‘wow’? (Instagram/@nasahubble)
Did this image of the Butterfly Nebula make you say ‘wow’? (Instagram/@nasahubble)

5. Crab Nebula

This beautiful celestial object is 6,500 light-years away from Earth in the Taurus constellation. While posting an image of this nebula, NASA shared, “Enormous clouds of gas bloom diagonally outward and dominate the image. The clouds vary in colour and texture – including cottony white, fiery orange, and smoky blue. In the background, blue, yellow, and red stars dot over black space.⁣”

The Crab Nebula is located in the Taurus constellation. (Instagram@nasa)
The Crab Nebula is located in the Taurus constellation. (Instagram@nasa)

What are your thoughts on these images of the nebulae named after animals? Did they leave you stunned?

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