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A nebula is a large cloud of gas and dust in space. According to NASA, a nebula often forms in areas where a new star is forming or another star is dying.
VIDEO: Journey into the cosmos to explore nebulae
Nebulae come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are often brilliantly colored masses that take on breathtaking formations, many of which resemble things here on Earth -- think stingrays, bubbles and tornadoes, to name a few.
Take a look through the gallery above to see some of the most striking nebulae spotted by NASA and other space agencies throughout the years.