136. Reflection Nebula, noun. A nebula is a vast mass of ionized gases and dust particles that may, in the fullness of time, give birth to a star (or stars). Some nebulae, their matter quite excited by the energy of stars already born and embedded within them, emit their own broad, bright radiation: lanterns in the blackness of space.
But some, less stirred, glow with a dimmer, bluish light cast back from nearby stars. Reflection nebulae are like dust motes swirling in a beam of sunlight, visible only by association.
From Latin reflectere, “to bend back,” + nebula, “mist.”
I know you feel this way sometimes—muted, diffuse. The thief of others’ light. Listen, I would see you even without the stars.