Interstellar Gas and Dust

The gas between stars is mostly hydrogen and helium scattered at varying densities between the stars in our galaxy and other galaxies. The proportions of the gases are similar to those in the Sun. Interstellar gas supplies the raw material for star formation. Carbon monoxide and hydroxyl molecules (CO and OH) have also been detected within interstellar gas, along with highly ionized oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and silicon, which are likely remnants of past supernovae. The dust is made up of tiny grains of carbon, iron, and iron-magnesium silicates scattered at varying densities between the stars in our galaxy and other galaxies.

Radio Programs

Emptiness The emptiness between the stars Monday, April 21, 2014
Stepping Stone A long trip to nowhere Friday, April 4, 2014
California Nebula California in the stars Saturday, January 25, 2014
Orion Nebula A busy stellar nursery Thursday, January 23, 2014
Distant Cloud A remnant of the Big Bang Sunday, November 3, 2013
Carbon Monoxide Tracing the birth of stars Thursday, October 17, 2013
Moon and Antares Clouding up nearby space Thursday, July 18, 2013
Dusty Vega Stirring up dust around a bright star Friday, June 14, 2013
Star Factory A massive factory for making stars Thursday, May 2, 2013
The Bull’s Horns The Moon takes the bull by the horns Monday, March 18, 2013
Molecule Factory Whipping up some complex molecules Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Primordial Clouds Relics of the birth of the universe Sunday, May 13, 2012
Horsehead Nebula Drifting along with an interstellar cloud Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Betelgeuse II Looking for the “edge” of a giant star Friday, December 2, 2011
Interstellar Skies Looking for clear interstellar skies Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Robert Trumpler Filling the space between the stars Sunday, October 2, 2011
Moon and Antares Giving birth to a big family of stars Monday, July 11, 2011
Moon and Regulus Filtering out the starlight Monday, July 4, 2011
Stellar Shock Wave A star rams its way through the galaxy Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Cat's Eye Nebula Sculpting a celestial work of art Thursday, June 24, 2010
Rasalgethi A long trek for starlight Friday, May 7, 2010
Tarantula Nebula Stellar "eggs" from a tarantula Monday, May 25, 2009
Fireball Looking into a great emptiness Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tough Neighborhood Growing up in a tough neighborhood Monday, April 27, 2009
Black-Eye Galaxy A galaxy gets a real shiner Saturday, April 11, 2009
Herschel Clearing out the dust Thursday, April 9, 2009
Stellar Dust-up A young star system gets dirty Friday, February 20, 2009
TW Hydrae Looking into the solar system's past Sunday, February 8, 2009
Gathering Stardust Stirring up the early solar system Friday, January 23, 2009
Charred Building Blocks The smoky taste of life's building blocks Thursday, January 22, 2009
Dusty Stars Looking for dusty stars Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Dusty Skies Time for a cosmic white-glove test Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Cosmic Dust Sweeping up after the stars Monday, January 19, 2009

Featured Images

Close-up view of the California Nebula in infrared light.
California Nebula Saturday, January 25, 2014
Hot Dust Tuesday, January 7, 2014
RS Puppis, a supergiant star seen by Hubble Space Telescope
Dusty Skies Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Cat's Paw Nebula in submillimeter and near-infrared light
Star Maker Friday, September 27, 2013
Visible light (left) and infrared view of the dark molecular cloud Barnard 68
Looking into the Darkness Sunday, July 7, 2013
Starbirth region on the edge of the Milky Way galaxy
Starbirth Thursday, June 6, 2013
Combined visual and millimeter-wave view of Orion Nebula, M42
Cold Fire Thursday, May 16, 2013
Infrared view of Betelgeuse
Messy Star Friday, April 12, 2013
Star forming region in Orion
Hiding Places Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Gemini Observatory view of outskirts of Orion Nebula
Knotheads Thursday, January 10, 2013
Beams of light shine through the Egg Nebula
Stellar Headlights Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Artist's concept of stars and a gas cloud near the Milky Way's central black hol
Snack Time Thursday, March 29, 2012
Space-based infrared view of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Busy Neighbor Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Infrared view of the spiral galaxy IC 342
Tangled Galaxy Sunday, January 22, 2012
Infrared view of starbirth in the vast nebula complex Cygnus X
Busy Nursery Friday, January 13, 2012
Horsehead Nebula photographed through a McDonald Observatory telescope
3D Horsehead Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Stars and gas swirl around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way
Swirling Center Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Spiral galaxy NGC 3621 in the constellation Hydra
Galactic Sparkler Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Hubble view of Hanny's Voorwerp and the galaxy IC 2497
In the Spotlight Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Hot young stars carve beautiful shapes in surrounding clouds of gas and dust.
Stellar Sculptors Thursday, July 15, 2010
A hot, massive star 'exhales' a breath of oxygen in this recent image from WISE.
Breath of Life Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Starbirth Factories
Starbirth Factories Monday, May 24, 2010
Cold Fingers Friday, March 19, 2010
A Wispy Swan Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A Big Shiner Saturday, April 11, 2009
Hanny's Voorwerp Thursday, March 12, 2009
Dusty Skies Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Dusty Skies Monday, January 19, 2009
Stellar Nursery Thursday, February 21, 2008
Gassy Star Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Dark Beauty Friday, April 7, 2006

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