Difference between Nebula and Galaxy

Nebula vs. Galaxy

What is Difference between Nebula and Galaxy? The outer space is a fascinating and mysterious place for many of us. There are few things we know about and many that we would like to know.

Most of us are aware that the planet Earth is in a galaxy called the Milky Way and surely we have also heard of the nebulae at some point, but do we understand the difference between Nebula and Galaxy? If you are not sure what it is, then we will make it clear to you.

Difference between Nebula and Galaxy


A nebula is a cloud in space, made up of gases and dust. This word has been derived from the Latin nebula which means “mist” or “fog” (unlike what many believe, does not mean cloud.) The poets Horacio and Virgilio used that word to refer to “cloud”.

In earlier times (before the telescope was invented), galaxies were also called nebulae because of their fuzzy aspects; however, today this term is used exclusively for the interstellar regions that are formed mainly by helium and hydrogen.

The nebulae have different shapes and sizes, but in general three types are distinguished: reflecting nebulae, dark nebulae emission nebulae. The first are those that reflect the light of the nearby stars, the second are those that absorb light from the things behind them, but not the stars (they are often far from them). Finally, the emissions emit glow thanks to the gases that compose them and the ultraviolet radiation that interacts with them.


The galaxies are a set, composed of planets, stars, dust, nebulae and other interstellar elements that are linked by gravity.

There are galaxies of different sizes and they can all contain countless elements. The Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy are some of the best known examples.

The astronomers have offered information from various obsevables galaxies; however, the universe may be thousands of millions of them.

Key differences between Nebulae and Galaxies

  • Nebulae are clouds in space made up of dust and gases (in some cases they may be the remains of a star that has exploded), while galaxies are a group of stars, planets and other interstellar elements linked by gravity.
  • Nebulae are found within galaxies.

Types of Nebulae

  • Emission nebulae
  • Dark nebulae
  • Reflection nebulae
  • Planetary nebulae

Types of Galaxies

  • Spirals
  • Elliptical
  • Irregular

They’re made of:

  • Galaxies: Thousands of billions of stars, planets, plasma, gases.
  • Nebulae: dust, hydrogen, helium and plasma.