What is an Emission Nebula?

Emission nebula are clouds of high temperature ionized gas.  Atoms are excited by high energy light from a nearby star and emit photons as they fall back to lower energy states.   Most emission nebula are red because Hydrogen is the most common gas. They emit light at the hydrogen alpha wavelength.  These types of nebula are often the brightest of all nebulas and can be active star formation regions.

In these cases massive gas clouds collapse under their own weight, and then due to the conservation of angular momentum, begin to spin, flatten, and contract. Over a few million years, the temperature at the core with rise until it’s sufficient for nuclear fusion to occur and a star is born.

Good examples of emission nebula include the Orion nebula (M42), the Rosette nebula (Caldwell 49), and the Lagoon nebula (M8).

Crescent Nebula NGC6888

Crescent Nebula NGC6888

Celestron 9.25 SCT with Hyperstar

Heart Nebula IC1805

Heart Nebula IC1805

Skywatcher Esprit 100ED Refractor

Lagoon Nebula M8

Celestron C9.25SCT/Hyperstar

California Nebula NGC1499

Celestron C9.25/Hyperstar

Thor's Helmet NGC2359 in Narrowband

C9.25 with Hyperstar

Elephant's Trunk Nebula IC1396

Elephant's Trunk Nebula IC1396

C9.25 with Hyperstar

M78

Celestron C9.25/Hyperstar

IC2944 Running Chicken Nebula

IC2944 Running Chicken Nebula in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

North America Nebula NGC7000

Celestron C9.25/Hyperstar

IC 5070 The Pelican Nebula

IC 5070 The Pelican Nebula

Celestron 9.25 SCT with Hyperstar

Orion Nebula M42

Orion Nebula M42

TEC140ED Refractor

Tulip Nebula

C9 Hyperstar

Eta Carina Nebula

Eta Carina Nebula in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

NGC2070 The Tarantula Nebula

NGC2070 The Tarantula Nebula

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

Trifid Nebula M20

Trifid Nebula M20

TEC140ED Refractor

Running Man Nebula

TEC140ED Refractor

Lagoon & Trifid Nebula M8 & M20

Skywatcher Esprit 100ED Refractor

Elephant Trunk Nebula in RGB/HaOIIISII

RASC 16" Reflector

Heart Nebula IC1805

Heart Nebula IC1805 in Narrowband

Remote FSQ-106 Telescope in Australia

NGC3324

NGC3324 Nebula in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

Rosette Nebula NGC2244

Rosette Nebula in Narrowband

Takahashi FSQ-106

M16 The Eagle Nebula

M16 The Eagle Nebula in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

Tadpole Nebula IC410

Tadpole Nebula IC410

TEC140ED Refractor

Statue of Liberty Nebula

Statue of Liberty Nebula in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

NGC 6823

TEC 140

IC 63 Ghost of Cassiopeia

Celestron 9.25" SCT with Hyperstar

NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula in Narrowband

Takahashi FSQ106 in Narrowband

Soul Nebula IC1848

Soul Nebula IC1848

C9.25 with Hyperstar

NGC 6165

NGC 6165 in Narrowband

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

PacMan Nebula

PacMan Nebula

TEC 140ED Refractor

North America Nebula

Radian 75 APO

Horsehead Nebula IC434

Horsehead Nebula IC434

TEC140ED Refractor

Lobster Claw Nebula

Lobster Claw Nebula

C9.25 with Hyperstar

Bubble Nebula and M52

Bubble Nebula and M52 in Narrowband

Takahashi FSQ-106

Crescent Nebula NGC 6888

Crescent Nebula NGC 6888 in Narrowband

CDK24 in Chile

Wizard Nebula NGC 7380

Wizard Nebula NGC 7380

TEC140ED Refractor

Orion's Belt

Orion's Belt in Hydrogen Alpha

Takahashi FSQ-106

Tadpole Nebula IC410

Tadpole Nebula IC410

Celestron 9.25 with Hyperstar

NGC2175 Monkey's Head Nebula

Monkey Head Nebula

Celestron 9.25 with Hyperstar

Seagull Nebula

Seagull Nebula in HSO

Takahashi FSQ-106

Sadr Nebula

Celestron 9.25 with Hyperstar

Rim Nebula NGC 6188

Rim Nebula NGC 6188 in Narrowband

Takahashi FSQ-106

Central Orion nebulas

Ha modified Sony A7iii DSLR

Orion and Running Man Nebulae

Celestron C9.25/Hyperstar

Eta Carina Nebula

Eta Carina Nebula

Remote Chile Telescope

Rosette Nebula

Remote telescope

Jellyfish Nebula IC443

Jellyfish Nebula IC443 in BGGR

Celestron C9.25 with Hyperstar

Elephant's Trunk Nebula IC1396

IC 1396

Remote Chile Telescope

M16 Eagle Nebula

TEC 160FL

NGC 6334 Cat's Paw Nebula

TEC 140ED

M17 Swan Nebula

TEC 140ED

Gum 65

Takahashi FSQ-106

SH2-119 Clamshell Nebula

Takahashi FSQ-106

CED214

Takahashi FSQ-106

Dolphin Head Nebula

C9.25/Hyperstar

North America and Pelican Nebulas

Sony A7iii DSLR with 150mm lens

Heart, Soul, Double Cluster

Sony A7iii/IRIX150mm


Orion Complex

Sony A7iii/IRIX 150mm

Flaming Star Nebula

C9.25/Hyperstar

Heart Nebula

C9.25/Hyperstar


Seagull Nebula

Sony A7iii/IRIX 150mm

Crescent Nebula

Radian 75 APO

M42/Running Man Nebulas

C9.25/Hyperstar

Thor's Helmet Nebula

C9.25/Hyperstar

Rosette Nebula

C9.25/Hyperstar

Running Chicken Nebula

Remote CDK24" Telescope in Chile

IC1314

C9.25/Hyperstar

IC1396

C9.25/Hyperstar

M16 Eagle nebula

TEC140

Sagittarius Star Cloud

Sony A7iii

M20 nebula

C9.25 Hyperstar