Certain stars and nebulae show a bright line helium spectrum.
He arranges a selection from his observations on the nebulae in such a way as to give great plausibility to his view of the gradual transmutation of nebulae into stars Herschel begins by showing us that there are regions in the heavens where a faint diffused nebulosity is all that can be detected by the telescope.
Thus in 1864 the spectroscope yielded him evidence that planetary and irregular nebulae consist of luminous gas - a conclusion tending to support the nebular hypothesis of the origin of stars and planets by condensation from glowing masses of fluid material.
It does not, however, seem probable that their apparent anti-galactic tendency has such a significance; in the Magellanic Clouds spiral nebulae are very abundant, a fact which shows that there is no essential antipathy between the stars and the spiral nebulae.
There are other nebulae in which a nucleus can be just discerned, others again in which the nucleus is easily seen, and still others where the nucleus is a brilliant star-like point.