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Nebula GIFs (also known as Galaxy GIFs) are a series of GIF format images in which certain sections of the image are obscured by flashing patterns of galactic scenery. Due to their frequent usage in inspirational photo quotes on Tumblr, Nebula GIFs have become associated with hipsters.
Stock images of nebulae taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have been circulating on Tumblr since as early as January 2010, while inspirational photo quotes featuring pictures of nebulae have appeared as early as February 2010.Single topic blogs dedicated to making fun of this trend were created as early as August 2010, starting with the launch of That’s A Fucking Nebula, followed by Fuck Yeah Text Over Nebulas and Text in Space.
Meanwhile, GIFs utilizing images of nebulae began appearing on Tumblr as as early as December 7th, 2010, when Tumblr user VeryCherryPeel posted an animated GIF showing a silhouette of two people in a sexual position with its foreground obscured by flashing nebulae.
On January 18th, 2011, Galaxies In Shit became the first single topic blog solely dedicated to sharing nebula GIFs on Tumblr, followed by Fuck Yeah Nebula GIFs that was launched on March 30th. The nebulae GIFs are typically shared on Tumblr through designated tags nebula-gif and galaxy-gif, but also through through more generic tags like space-gif and hipster-gif. In addition, tutorials on how to create nebula GIFs can be found on Galaxies in Shit, single topic tutorial blogs like FYTutorials and FYeahTutorial, as well as on YouTube, where the earliest tutorial video (shown below, left) was uploaded on May 18th, 2011.
Nebula GIF images have been used by Tumblr bloggers for various purposes, most prominently as a decorative texture in photoshopped images, as a design pattern for accessories and fashion products and also as background images for social networking profile pages or personal blogs.
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