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Absorption Nebula

Dark Nebula

A nebula that absorbs starlight. Unlike emission or reflection nebulae, absorption nebulae cannot normally be seen in visible light, unless they appear against a bright background like the Horsehead or Keyhole Nebulae.

Dark nebula diagram (side view) Dark nebula diagram (from Earth)

An absorption nebula is a dense cloud of dust and gas. From the point of view of an observer on Earth, it absorbs the light from more distant stars, creating a dark, starless region.


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