Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter. A pure gas may be made up of individual atoms, elemental molecules made from one type of atom, or compound molecules made from a variety of atoms. A gas mixture would contain a variety of pure gases much like the air. What distinguishes a gas from liquids and solids is the vast separation of the individual gas particles; this separation makes a colorless gas invisible to the human observer. The interaction of gas particles in the presence of electric and gravitational fields are considered negligible, as indicated by the constant velocity vectors in the image; the gaseous state of matter is found between the liquid and plasma states, the latter of which provides the upper temperature boundary for gases. Bounding the lower end of the temperature scale lie degenerative quantum gases which are gaining increasing attention. High-density atomic gases super cooled to low temperatures are classified by their statistical behavior as either a Bose gas or a Fermi gas.
For a comprehensive listing of these exotic states of matter see list of states of matter. The only chemical elements that are stable diatomic homonuclear molecules at STP are hydrogen, nitrogen and two halogens: fluorine and chlorine; when grouped together with the monatomic noble gases – helium, argon, krypton and radon – these gases are called "elemental gases". The word gas was first used by the early 17th-century Flemish chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont, he identified the first known gas other than air. Van Helmont's word appears to have been a phonetic transcription of the Ancient Greek word χάος Chaos – the g in Dutch being pronounced like ch in "loch" – in which case Van Helmont was following the established alchemical usage first attested in the works of Paracelsus. According to Paracelsus's terminology, chaos meant something like "ultra-rarefied water". An alternative story is that Van Helmont's word is corrupted from gahst, signifying a ghost or spirit; this was because certain gases suggested a supernatural origin, such as from their ability to cause death, extinguish flames, to occur in "mines, bottom of wells and other lonely places".
In contrast, French-American historian Jacques Barzun speculated that Van Helmont had borrowed the word from the German Gäscht, meaning the froth resulting from fermentation. Because most gases are difficult to observe directly, they are described through the use of four physical properties or macroscopic characteristics: pressure, number of particles and temperature; these four characteristics were observed by scientists such as Robert Boyle, Jacques Charles, John Dalton, Joseph Gay-Lussac and Amedeo Avogadro for a variety of gases in various settings. Their detailed studies led to a mathematical relationship among these properties expressed by the ideal gas law. Gas particles are separated from one another, have weaker intermolecular bonds than liquids or solids; these intermolecular forces result from electrostatic interactions between gas particles. Like-charged areas of different gas particles repel, while oppositely charged regions of different gas particles attract one another. Gaseous compounds with polar covalent bonds contain permanent charge imbalances and so experience strong intermolecular forces, although the molecule while the compound's net charge remains neutral.
Transient, randomly induced charges exist across non-polar covalent bonds of molecules and electrostatic interactions caused by them are referred to as Van der Waals forces. The interaction of these intermolecular forces varies within a substance which determines many of the physical properties unique to each gas. A comparison of boiling points for compounds formed by ionic and covalent bonds leads us to this conclusion; the drifting smoke particles in the image provides some insight into low-pressure gas behavior. Compared to the other states of matter, gases have low viscosity. Pressure and temperature influence the particles within a certain volume; this variation in particle separation and speed is referred to as compressibility. This particle separation and size influences optical properties of gases as can be found in the following list of refractive indices. Gas particles spread apart or diffuse in order to homogeneously distribute themselves throughout any container; when observing a gas, it is typical to specify a frame of length scale.
A larger length scale corresponds to a global point of view of the gas. This region must be sufficient in size to contain a large sampling of gas particles; the resulting statistical analysis of this sample size produces the "average" behavior of all the gas particles within the region. In contrast, a smaller length scale corresponds to a particle point of view. Macroscopically, the gas characteristics measured are either in terms of the gas particles themselves or their surroundings. For example, Robert Boyle studied pneumatic chemistry for a small portion of his career. One of his experiments related the macroscopic properties of volume of a gas, his experiment used a J-tube manometer which looks like a test tube in the shape of the letter J. Boyle trapped an inert gas in the closed end of the test tube with a column of mercury, thereby ma
A star system or stellar system is a small number of stars that orbit each other, bound by gravitational attraction. A large number of stars bound by gravitation is called a star cluster or galaxy, broadly speaking, they are star systems. Star systems are not to be confused with planetary systems, which include planets and similar bodies A star system of two stars is known as a binary star, binary star system or physical double star. If there are no tidal effects, no perturbation from other forces, no transfer of mass from one star to the other, such a system is stable, both stars will trace out an elliptic orbit around the barycenter of the system indefinitely.. Examples of binary systems are Sirius and Cygnus X-1, the last of which consists of a star and a black hole. A multiple star system consists of three or more stars that appear from Earth to be close to one another in the sky; this may result from the stars being physically close and gravitationally bound to each other, in which case it is a physical multiple star, or this closeness may be apparent, in which case it is an optical multiple star.
Physical multiple stars are commonly called multiple stars or multiple star systems. Most multiple star systems are triple stars. Systems with four or more components are less to occur. Multiple-star systems are called trinary or ternary if they contain three stars; these systems are smaller than open star clusters, which have more complex dynamics and have from 100 to 1,000 stars. Most multiple star systems known are triple. For example, in the 1999 revision of Tokovinin's catalog of physical multiple stars, 551 out of the 728 systems described are triple. However, because of selection effects, knowledge of these statistics is incomplete. Multiple-star systems can be divided into two main dynamical classes: hierarchical systems which are stable and consist of nested orbits that don't interact much and so each level of the hierarchy can be treated as a Two-body problem, or the trapezia which have unstable interacting orbits and are modelled as an n-body problem, exhibiting chaotic behavior. Most multiple-star systems are organized in what is called a hierarchical system: the stars in the system can be divided into two smaller groups, each of which traverses a larger orbit around the system's center of mass.
Each of these smaller groups must be hierarchical, which means that they must be divided into smaller subgroups which themselves are hierarchical, so on. Each level of the hierarchy can be treated as a two-body problem by considering close pairs as if they were a single star. In these systems there is little interaction between the orbits and the stars' motion will continue to approximate stable Keplerian orbits around the system's center of mass, unlike the unstable trapezia systems or the more complex dynamics of the large number of stars in star clusters and galaxies. In a physical triple star system, each star orbits the center of mass of the system. Two of the stars form a close binary system, the third orbits this pair at a distance much larger than that of the binary orbit; this arrangement is called hierarchical. The reason for this is that if the inner and outer orbits are comparable in size, the system may become dynamically unstable, leading to a star being ejected from the system.
Triple stars that are not all gravitationally bound might comprise a physical binary and an optical companion, such as Beta Cephei, or a purely optical triple star, such as Gamma Serpentis. Hierarchical multiple star systems with more than three stars can produce a number of more complicated arrangements, which can be illustrated by what Evans has called a mobile diagram; these are similar to ornamental mobiles hung from the ceiling. Some examples can be seen in the figure to the right; each level of the diagram illustrates the decomposition of the system into two or more systems with smaller size. Evans calls a diagram multiplex if there is a node with more than two children, i.e. if the decomposition of some subsystem involves two or more orbits with comparable size. Because, as we have seen for triple stars, this may be unstable, multiple stars are expected to be simplex, meaning that at each level there are two children. Evans calls the number of levels in the diagram its hierarchy. A simplex diagram of hierarchy 1, as in, describes a binary system.
A simplex diagram of hierarchy 2 may describe a quadruple system, as in. A simplex diagram of hierarchy 3 may describe a system with anywhere from four to eight components; the mobile diagram in shows an example of a quadruple system with hierarchy 3, consisting of a single distant component orbiting a close binary system, with one of the components of the close binary being an closer binary. A real example of a system with hierarchy 3 is Castor known as Alpha Geminorum or α Gem, it consists of what appears to be a visual binary star which, upon closer inspection, can be seen to consist of two spectroscopic binary stars. By itself, this would be a quadruple hierarchy 2 system as in, but it is orbited b
A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias "milky", a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million stars to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each orbiting its galaxy's center of mass. Galaxies are categorized according to their visual morphology as spiral, or irregular. Many galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their centers; the Milky Way's central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, has a mass four million times greater than the Sun. As of March 2016, GN-z11 is the oldest and most distant observed galaxy with a comoving distance of 32 billion light-years from Earth, observed as it existed just 400 million years after the Big Bang. Research released in 2016 revised the number of galaxies in the observable universe from a previous estimate of 200 billion to a suggested 2 trillion or more, containing more stars than all the grains of sand on planet Earth.
Most of the galaxies are 1,000 to 100,000 parsecs in diameter and separated by distances on the order of millions of parsecs. For comparison, the Milky Way has a diameter of at least 30,000 parsecs and is separated from the Andromeda Galaxy, its nearest large neighbor, by 780,000 parsecs; the space between galaxies is filled with a tenuous gas having an average density of less than one atom per cubic meter. The majority of galaxies are gravitationally organized into groups and superclusters; the Milky Way is part of the Local Group, dominated by it and the Andromeda Galaxy and is part of the Virgo Supercluster. At the largest scale, these associations are arranged into sheets and filaments surrounded by immense voids; the largest structure of galaxies yet recognised is a cluster of superclusters, named Laniakea, which contains the Virgo supercluster. The origin of the word galaxy derives from the Greek term for the Milky Way, galaxias, or kyklos galaktikos due to its appearance as a "milky" band of light in the sky.
In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son born by a mortal woman, the infant Heracles, on Hera's breast while she is asleep so that the baby will drink her divine milk and will thus become immortal. Hera wakes up while breastfeeding and realizes she is nursing an unknown baby: she pushes the baby away, some of her milk spills, it produces the faint band of light known as the Milky Way. In the astronomical literature, the capitalized word "Galaxy" is used to refer to our galaxy, the Milky Way, to distinguish it from the other galaxies in our universe; the English term Milky Way can be traced back to a story by Chaucer c. 1380: "See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt." Galaxies were discovered telescopically and were known as spiral nebulae. Most 18th to 19th Century astronomers considered them as either unresolved star clusters or anagalactic nebulae, were just thought as a part of the Milky Way, but their true composition and natures remained a mystery. Observations using larger telescopes of a few nearby bright galaxies, like the Andromeda Galaxy, began resolving them into huge conglomerations of stars, but based on the apparent faintness and sheer population of stars, the true distances of these objects placed them well beyond the Milky Way.
For this reason they were popularly called island universes, but this term fell into disuse, as the word universe implied the entirety of existence. Instead, they became known as galaxies. Tens of thousands of galaxies have been catalogued, but only a few have well-established names, such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Sombrero Galaxy. Astronomers work with numbers from certain catalogues, such as the Messier catalogue, the NGC, the IC, the CGCG, the MCG and UGC. All of the well-known galaxies appear in one or more of these catalogues but each time under a different number. For example, Messier 109 is a spiral galaxy having the number 109 in the catalogue of Messier, having the designations NGC 3992, UGC 6937, CGCG 269-023, MCG +09-20-044, PGC 37617; the realization that we live in a galaxy, one among many galaxies, parallels major discoveries that were made about the Milky Way and other nebulae. The Greek philosopher Democritus proposed that the bright band on the night sky known as the Milky Way might consist of distant stars.
Aristotle, believed the Milky Way to be caused by "the ignition of the fiery exhalation of some stars that were large and close together" and that the "ignition takes place in the upper part of the atmosphere, in the region of the World, continuous with the heavenly motions." The Neoplatonist philosopher Olympiodorus the Younger was critical of this view, arguing that if the Milky Way is sublunary it should appear different at different times and places on Earth, that it should have parallax, which it does not. In his view, the Milky Way is celestial. According to Mohani Mohamed, the Arabian astronomer Alhazen made the first attempt at observing and measuring the Milky Way's parallax, he thus "determined that because the Milky Way had no parallax, it must be remote from the Earth, not belonging to the atmosphere." The Persian astronomer al-Bīrūnī
Cosmic dust called extraterrestrial dust or space dust, is dust which exists in outer space, or has fallen on Earth. Most cosmic dust particles are between a few molecules to 0.1 µm in size. Cosmic dust can be further distinguished by its astronomical location: intergalactic dust, interstellar dust, interplanetary dust and circumplanetary dust. In the Solar System, interplanetary dust causes the zodiacal light. Solar System dust includes comet dust, asteroidal dust, dust from the Kuiper belt, interstellar dust passing through the Solar System. Thousands of tons of cosmic dust are estimated to reach the Earth's surface every year, with each grain having a mass between 10−16 kg and 10−4 kg; the density of the dust cloud through which the Earth is traveling is 10−6/m3. Cosmic dust contains some complex organic compounds that could be created and by stars. A smaller fraction of dust in space is "stardust" consisting of larger refractory minerals that condensed as matter left by stars. Interstellar dust particles were collected by the Stardust spacecraft and samples were returned to Earth in 2006.
Cosmic dust was once an annoyance to astronomers, as it obscures objects they wish to observe. When infrared astronomy began, the dust particles were observed to be significant and vital components of astrophysical processes, their analysis can reveal information about phenomena like the formation of the Solar System. For example, cosmic dust can drive the mass loss when a star is nearing the end of its life, play a part in the early stages of star formation, form planets. In the Solar System, dust plays a major role in the zodiacal light, Saturn's B Ring spokes, the outer diffuse planetary rings at Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, comets; the interdisciplinary study of dust brings together different scientific fields: physics, fractal mathematics, surface chemistry on dust grains) meteoritics, as well as every branch of astronomy and astrophysics. These disparate research areas can be linked by the following theme: the cosmic dust particles evolve cyclically; the evolution of dust traces out paths in which the Universe recycles material, in processes analogous to the daily recycling steps with which many people are familiar: production, processing, collection and discarding.
Observations and measurements of cosmic dust in different regions provide an important insight into the Universe's recycling processes. The astronomers accumulate observational ‘snapshots’ of dust at different stages of its life and, over time, form a more complete movie of the Universe's complicated recycling steps. Parameters such as the particle's initial motion, material properties, intervening plasma and magnetic field determined the dust particle's arrival at the dust detector. Changing any of these parameters can give different dust dynamical behavior. Therefore, one can learn about where that object came from, what is the intervening medium. Cosmic dust can be detected by indirect methods that utilize the radiative properties of the cosmic dust particles. Cosmic dust can be detected directly using a variety of collection methods and from a variety of collection locations. Estimates of the daily influx of extraterrestrial material entering the Earth's atmosphere range between 5 and 300 tonnes.
NASA collects samples of star dust particles in the Earth's atmosphere using plate collectors under the wings of stratospheric-flying airplanes. Dust samples are collected from surface deposits on the large Earth ice-masses and in deep-sea sediments. Don Brownlee at the University of Washington in Seattle first reliably identified the extraterrestrial nature of collected dust particles in the latter 1970s. Another source is the meteorites. Stardust grains are solid refractory pieces of individual presolar stars, they are recognized by their extreme isotopic compositions, which can only be isotopic compositions within evolved stars, prior to any mixing with the interstellar medium. These grains condensed from the stellar matter. In interplanetary space, dust detectors on planetary spacecraft have been built and flown, some are presently flying, more are presently being built to fly; the large orbital velocities of dust particles in interplanetary space make intact particle capture problematic. Instead, in-situ dust detectors are devised to measure parameters associated with the high-velocity impact of dust particles on the instrument, derive physical properties of the particles through laboratory calibration.
Over the years dust detectors have measured, among others, the impact light flash, acoustic signal and impact ionisation. The dust instrument on Stardust captured particles intact in low-density aerogel. Dust detectors in the past flew on the HEOS-2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Giotto and Cassini space missions, on the Earth-orbiting LDEF, EURECA, Gorid satellites, some scientists have utilized the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft as giant Langmuir probes to
A chemical element is a species of atom having the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei. For example, the atomic number of oxygen is 8, so the element oxygen consists of all atoms which have 8 protons. 118 elements have been identified, of which the first 94 occur on Earth with the remaining 24 being synthetic elements. There are 80 elements that have at least one stable isotope and 38 that have radionuclides, which decay over time into other elements. Iron is the most abundant element making up Earth, while oxygen is the most common element in the Earth's crust. Chemical elements constitute all of the ordinary matter of the universe; however astronomical observations suggest that ordinary observable matter makes up only about 15% of the matter in the universe: the remainder is dark matter. The two lightest elements and helium, were formed in the Big Bang and are the most common elements in the universe; the next three elements were formed by cosmic ray spallation, are thus rarer than heavier elements.
Formation of elements with from 6 to 26 protons occurred and continues to occur in main sequence stars via stellar nucleosynthesis. The high abundance of oxygen and iron on Earth reflects their common production in such stars. Elements with greater than 26 protons are formed by supernova nucleosynthesis in supernovae, when they explode, blast these elements as supernova remnants far into space, where they may become incorporated into planets when they are formed; the term "element" is used for atoms with a given number of protons as well as for a pure chemical substance consisting of a single element. For the second meaning, the terms "elementary substance" and "simple substance" have been suggested, but they have not gained much acceptance in English chemical literature, whereas in some other languages their equivalent is used. A single element can form multiple substances differing in their structure; when different elements are chemically combined, with the atoms held together by chemical bonds, they form chemical compounds.
Only a minority of elements are found uncombined as pure minerals. Among the more common of such native elements are copper, gold and sulfur. All but a few of the most inert elements, such as noble gases and noble metals, are found on Earth in chemically combined form, as chemical compounds. While about 32 of the chemical elements occur on Earth in native uncombined forms, most of these occur as mixtures. For example, atmospheric air is a mixture of nitrogen and argon, native solid elements occur in alloys, such as that of iron and nickel; the history of the discovery and use of the elements began with primitive human societies that found native elements like carbon, sulfur and gold. Civilizations extracted elemental copper, tin and iron from their ores by smelting, using charcoal. Alchemists and chemists subsequently identified many more; the properties of the chemical elements are summarized in the periodic table, which organizes the elements by increasing atomic number into rows in which the columns share recurring physical and chemical properties.
Save for unstable radioactive elements with short half-lives, all of the elements are available industrially, most of them in low degrees of impurities. The lightest chemical elements are hydrogen and helium, both created by Big Bang nucleosynthesis during the first 20 minutes of the universe in a ratio of around 3:1 by mass, along with tiny traces of the next two elements and beryllium. All other elements found in nature were made by various natural methods of nucleosynthesis. On Earth, small amounts of new atoms are produced in nucleogenic reactions, or in cosmogenic processes, such as cosmic ray spallation. New atoms are naturally produced on Earth as radiogenic daughter isotopes of ongoing radioactive decay processes such as alpha decay, beta decay, spontaneous fission, cluster decay, other rarer modes of decay. Of the 94 occurring elements, those with atomic numbers 1 through 82 each have at least one stable isotope. Isotopes considered stable are those. Elements with atomic numbers 83 through 94 are unstable to the point that radioactive decay of all isotopes can be detected.
Some of these elements, notably bismuth and uranium, have one or more isotopes with half-lives long enough to survive as remnants of the explosive stellar nucleosynthesis that produced the heavy metals before the formation of our Solar System. At over 1.9×1019 years, over a billion times longer than the current estimated age of the universe, bismuth-209 has the longest known alpha decay half-life of any occurring element, is always considered on par with the 80 stable elements. The heaviest elements undergo radioactive decay with half-lives so short that they are not found in nature and must be synthesized; as of 2010, there are 118 known elements (in this context, "known" means observed well enough from just a few de
In astronomy, the interstellar medium is the matter and radiation that exists in the space between the star systems in a galaxy. This matter includes gas in ionic and molecular form, as well as dust and cosmic rays, it fills interstellar space and blends smoothly into the surrounding intergalactic space. The energy that occupies the same volume, in the form of electromagnetic radiation, is the interstellar radiation field; the interstellar medium is composed of multiple phases, distinguished by whether matter is ionic, atomic, or molecular, the temperature and density of the matter. The interstellar medium is composed of hydrogen followed by helium with trace amounts of carbon and nitrogen comparatively to hydrogen; the thermal pressures of these phases are in rough equilibrium with one another. Magnetic fields and turbulent motions provide pressure in the ISM, are more important dynamically than the thermal pressure is. In all phases, the interstellar medium is tenuous by terrestrial standards.
In cool, dense regions of the ISM, matter is in molecular form, reaches number densities of 106 molecules per cm3. In hot, diffuse regions of the ISM, matter is ionized, the density may be as low as 10−4 ions per cm3. Compare this with a number density of 1019 molecules per cm3 for air at sea level, 1010 molecules per cm3 for a laboratory high-vacuum chamber. By mass, 99% of the ISM is gas in any form, 1% is dust. Of the gas in the ISM, by number 91% of atoms are hydrogen and 8.9% are helium, with 0.1% being atoms of elements heavier than hydrogen or helium, known as "metals" in astronomical parlance. By mass this amounts to 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, 1.5% heavier elements. The hydrogen and helium are a result of primordial nucleosynthesis, while the heavier elements in the ISM are a result of enrichment in the process of stellar evolution; the ISM plays a crucial role in astrophysics because of its intermediate role between stellar and galactic scales. Stars form within the densest regions of the ISM, which contributes to molecular clouds and replenishes the ISM with matter and energy through planetary nebulae, stellar winds, supernovae.
This interplay between stars and the ISM helps determine the rate at which a galaxy depletes its gaseous content, therefore its lifespan of active star formation. Voyager 1 reached the ISM on August 25, 2012, making it the first artificial object from Earth to do so. Interstellar plasma and dust will be studied until the mission's end in 2025, its twin, Voyager 2 entered the ISM in November 2018. Table 1 shows a breakdown of the properties of the components of the ISM of the Milky Way. Field, Goldsmith & Habing put forward the static two phase equilibrium model to explain the observed properties of the ISM, their modeled ISM consisted of a cold dense phase, consisting of clouds of neutral and molecular hydrogen, a warm intercloud phase, consisting of rarefied neutral and ionized gas. McKee & Ostriker added a dynamic third phase that represented the hot gas, shock heated by supernovae and constituted most of the volume of the ISM; these phases are the temperatures where cooling can reach a stable equilibrium.
Their paper formed the basis for further study over the past three decades. However, the relative proportions of the phases and their subdivisions are still not well known; this model takes into account only atomic hydrogen: Temperature larger than 3000 K breaks molecules, lower than 50 000 K leaves atoms in their ground state. It is assumed. Pressure is assumed low, so that durations of free paths of atoms are larger than the ~ 1 nanosecond duration of light pulses which make ordinary, temporally incoherent light. In this collisionless gas, Einstein’s theory of coherent light-matter interactions applies, all gas-light interactions are spatially coherent. Suppose that a monochromatic light is pulsed scattered by molecules having a quadrupole resonance frequency. If “length of light pulses is shorter than all involved time constants”, an “impulsive stimulated Raman scattering ” works: While light generated by incoherent Raman at a shifted frequency has a phase independent on phase of exciting light, thus generates a new spectral line, coherence between incident and scattered light allows their interference into a single frequency, thus shifts incident frequency.
Assume that a star radiates a continuous light spectrum up to X rays. Lyman frequencies are absorbed in this light and pump atoms to first excited state. In this state, hyperfine periods are longer than 1 ns, so that an ISRS “may” redshift light frequency, populating high hyperfine levels. An other ISRS “may” transfer energy from hyperfine levels to thermal electromagnetic waves, so that redshift is permanent. Temperature of a light beam is defined from spectral radiance by Planck's formula; as entropy must increase, “may” becomes “does”. However, where a absorbed line reaches Lyman alpha frequency, redshifting process stops and all hydrogen lines are absorbed, but the stop is not perfect if there is energy at frequency shifted to Lyman beta frequency, which produces a slow redshift. Successive redshifts separated by Lyman absorptions generate many absorption lines, frequencies of which, deduced from absorption process, obey a law more dependable than Karlsson’s formula; the previous process excites more and more atoms because a de-excitation obeys Einstein’s law of coherent interactions: Variation dI of radiance
In astronomy, reflection nebulae are clouds of interstellar dust which might reflect the light of a nearby star or stars. The energy from the nearby stars is insufficient to ionize the gas of the nebula to create an emission nebula, but is enough to give sufficient scattering to make the dust visible. Thus, the frequency spectrum shown by reflection nebulae is similar to that of the illuminating stars. Among the microscopic particles responsible for the scattering are carbon compounds and compounds of other elements such as iron and nickel; the latter two are aligned with the galactic magnetic field and cause the scattered light to be polarized. Analyzing the spectrum of the nebula associated with the star Merope in the Pleiades, Vesto Slipher concluded in 1912 that the source of its light is most the star itself, that the nebula reflects light from the star. Calculations by Ejnar Hertzsprung in 1913 lend credence to that hypothesis. Edwin Hubble further distinguished between the emission and reflection nebulae in 1922.
Reflection nebulae are blue because the scattering is more efficient for blue light than red. Reflection nebulae and emission nebulae are seen together and are sometimes both referred to as diffuse nebulae; some 500 reflection nebulae are known. Among the nicest of the reflection nebulae are those surrounding the stars of the Pleiades. A blue reflection nebula can be seen in the same area of the sky as the Trifid Nebula; the giant star Antares, red, is surrounded by a large, red reflection nebula. Reflection nebulae may be the site of star formation. In 1922, Edwin Hubble published the result of his investigations on bright nebulae. One part of this work is the Hubble luminosity law for reflection nebulae, which makes a relationship between the angular size of the nebula and the apparent magnitude of the associated star: 5 log = -m + kwhere k is a constant that depends on the sensitivity of the measurement. Variable nebula List of reflected light sources James B. Kaler. Cosmic Clouds -- Birth and Recycling in the Galaxy, Scientific American Library, New York, 1997