planetary nebula


: a usually compact luminous ring-shaped nebula that is composed of matter which has been ejected from a hot star at its center

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The colorful cloud in the image—somewhat misleadingly called a planetary nebula—is only a few thousand years old. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 17 Mar. 2023 Abell 31 is a planetary nebula, a cloud of gas formed when a dying star expels winds of matter. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 13 Feb. 2012 For decades, astronomers have sought the lightest noble gas molecule, helium hydride, in the planetary nebula NGC 7027, shown in this composite image. Ken Croswell, Discover Magazine, 12 Dec. 2019 This expanding cloud of gas, called a planetary nebula, is the result of a dying star that is blowing off its outer layers. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, 11 July 2022 Located 5,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation Centaurus, the Boomerang Nebula is a relatively young planetary nebula, according to NASA. Mythili Devarakonda, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2022 Instead, a planetary nebula is formed when an older, massive star blasts off some of its outer layers, forming a ring of expanding gas. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 8 July 2022 The leftovers of a star that went supernova are called planetary nebula. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 23 July 2022 Famous examples of planetary nebula include: Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation of Lyra. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 23 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'planetary nebula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of planetary nebula was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near planetary nebula

Cite this Entry

“Planetary nebula.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

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