The emphasis here is on aesthetics, not science. While there is a little information to help you appreciate the images this is not a tutorial on the astronomy of nebulae. If these images inspire you to study stellar evolution that’s great, but my intent is primarily to showcase a part of Nature’s beauty that is accessible to us only via the telescope.

This document is concerned exclusively with gaseous nebulae; galaxies and other stellar aggregates are not included. See Types of Nebulae for more details.

The Structure of this document

The main body of this document consists of two pages for each of about 25 objects. The first page consists almost entirely of a large image of the object. The second page gives some basic information about the object and a list of references to other pictures of the object available on the Net. There are links at the bottom of each page to move to the next and previous objects, back and forth between the picture and description pages, and to the table of contents page.

The appendices to this document include a list of the sources from which these images were collected; an extensive list of images sorted by object; and an index and glossary.

Browser issues

The Web Nebulae has been optimized for Netscape 1.1. It takes advantage of several of Netscape’s new features that may not be available in other browsers. In particular, TWN uses inline jpeg images. This greatly reduces the time to load a page for those of us with slow Internet connections.

These images are quite large (after decompression); you may find that Netscape works better if you give it a very large memory partition.

TWN works with MacMosaic 2.00B3 and MacWeb 1.00A3.2 although it doesn’t look as nice. It will be essentially useless with a text-only browser such as lynx. I am unable to test it with any other browsers.

Want more?

There are are WWW pages about the Messier objects at SEDSUniversity of Oregon and Catania Astrophysical Observatory, Italy. I also have a collection of Messier images from the Digital Sky Survey.

The sources and images list pages will lead you to more images elsewhere on the Net.MC Harvey’s page of sky charts also includes some nice images. Doug Snyder has a lot of info about planetaries.

Here’s a Spanish translation of The Web Nebulae.

If you enjoyed “The Web Nebulae” you might want to take a look at The Nine Planets, my WWW tour of the Solar System.

Bill Arnett