Images from Steve Bowers
There is a common saying: "a nebula only looks good from a distance". And I'd usually it is true. When you look at one through a telescope or when doing a spacewalk on a nightside they are gorgeous. But when you get closer, they fade and become transparent, and when you are in the middle of one it just looks like the stars are a bit more reddish than usual. Even the blackbody nebula out in the Perseus Arm loses its drama when you get close to it. I should know- I flew straight through it.A huge, diffuse cloud of gas and dust in interstellar space. The gas is mostly hydrogen (H2).
But there is one region of space where the saying isn't true, and that is the Orion federation. Those nebulas still look magnificent close up- draperies of red and blue, streaks as dark as the galactic nadir. And bright young stars everywhere, lighting up the gas and blowing it into piles, streamers, or bubbles. The sky at Enremdea- on one side the Orion Nebula, on the other the Cone Nebula and the Christmas Tree- is one of the most magnificent sights anywhere.
From "the passenger"