The theory of relativity usually encompasses two theories by Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. Concepts introduced by the theories of relativity include spacetime as a unified entity of space and time, relativity of simultaneity, kinematic and gravitational time dilation, and length contraction.

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A planetary nebula is a kind of emission nebula consisting of an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from old red giant stars late in their lives. They are a relatively short-lived phenomenon, lasting a few tens of thousands of years, compared to a typical stellar lifetime of several billion years.

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In astronomy, the interstellar medium (ISM) is the matter that exists in the space between the star systems in a galaxy. This matter includes gas in ionic, atomic, and molecular form, as well as dust and cosmic rays. It fills interstellar space and blends smoothly into the surrounding intergalactic space.

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Cosmic dust is dust which exists in outer space. Most cosmic dust particles are between a few molecules to 0.1 µm in size. A smaller fraction of all dust in space consists of larger refractory minerals that condensed as matter left the stars.

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The Universe is all of time and space and its contents. The Universe includes planets, natural satellites, minor planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy. The observable universe is about 28 billion parsecs (91 billion light-years) in diameter at the present time.

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