Some of the best names in the entire cosmos belong to nebulae, those huge clouds of celestial dust and gas that can take on exotic shapes. The Hubble Space Telescope is a champ when it comes to imaging these spectacular formations and its prowess is on full display with a view of the Tarantula Nebula shared by NASA on Friday.
The Tarantula Nebula, more formally known as 30 Doradus, gets its nickname from what the European Space Agency describes as "spindly, spidery filaments of gas."
The arachnid-shaped nebula isn't the only one on display in this image. Look for the rounded blue shapes in the lower left corner that make up the Honeycomb Nebula. "The nebula's strange bubble-like shape has baffled astronomers since its discovery in the early 1990s," says the ESA.
The space agency points to 2010 research on the Honeycomb Nebula that suggests its unusual look comes from the interactions between an older and a newer supernova combined with the viewing angle from our corner of the galaxy.
The Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990 and is still going strong, is a joint project from NASA and the ESA.