Dark Nebulae

Messier's catalog does not contain any dark nebula.

The icon shows the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33).

Besides the luminous bright nebulae of various types, consisting of light emitting gas or illuminated dust masses, there are dark nebulae which can be seen because they obscure, or absorb, the light coming from stars or bright nebulae behind them. Therefore, dark Nebulae are sometimes called Absorption Nebulae. A famous example is the Horsehead Nebula. The earliest documented and probably most conspicuous dark nebula is the Coalsack in the southern constellation Crux.
Early known dark nebula: Coalsack


Diffuse Nebulae

Planetary Nebulae

Supernova Remnants

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: January 25, 1998