Rosette Nebula Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Would you be surprised to look up into the night sky and see something that looks like a flower? In this lesson, you'll learn about the Rosette Nebula, which is a flower-shaped cloud in space!

What Makes a Nebula?

You've probably heard of planets, stars, comets and meteors, but have you ever heard of a nebula? A nebula is a cloud of gases and space dust. The word ''nebula'' actually means ''cloud.'' These clouds usually are made of a lot of helium and hydrogen gas.

Rosette Nebula

They don't sound very interesting, but even though they're just gas and dust, some amazing things can happen inside of nebulae! (The plural of ''nebula'' is ''nebulae.'') Let's look at an example of a beautiful nebula called the Rosette Nebula.

A Nebula Shaped Like a Flower

The Rosette Nebula is in the Milky Way Galaxy, just like our Earth. It's in the constellation Monoceros, which means 'the unicorn.'

The Rosette Nebula is shaped like a rose or a flower, which is where it gets its name. It's a special type of nebula, called an emission nebula. ''Emissions'' are anything that are given off by something; for example, a car gives off emissions when it burns gasoline, and trees give off oxygen.

Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula is called an emission nebula because it gives off different colors of light. The new stars inside the cloud are very hot, which causes the gases inside the nebula to give off, or emit, light. This makes emission nebulae glow with many colors.

Some people call the Rosette Nebula the ''Skull'' because they think its shape looks more like a skull than a rose. Look at the pictures of the Rosette Nebula in this lesson. Do you think it looks more like a flower or a skull?

NGC 2244

Inside of the Rosette Nebula is an open star cluster, which is just a group of stars that are bunched together and that were formed at about the same time. The open star cluster in the Rosette Nebula is named NGC 2244. All of the stars in the cluster were created from the gases and dust from the nebula itself. Some of the stars are so hot that they are much larger and hotter than our Sun; in fact, the two brightest stars in NGC 2244 are both 50-60 times larger than our sun!

NGC 2244 Open Star Cluster

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