Hubblesite titled this image release “Tangled – cosmic edition. This supernova remnant fills the bill and I get a laugh when I think way back to when I was in primary school and we were taught that space was a collection of stars with vast amounts of nothing else. We know that is anything but true these days.
Click the image for a larger version or better yet go to the page I got this from and get one of the really large versions – makes a fantastic background for your computer.
About the image from Hubblesite:
This dark, tangled web is an object named SNR 0454-67.2. It formed in a very violent fashion — it is a supernovaremnant, created after a massive star ended its life in a cataclysmic explosion and threw its constituent material out into surrounding space. This created the messy formation we see in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopeimage, with threads of red snaking amidst dark, turbulent clouds.
SNR 0454-67.2 is situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf spiral galaxy that lies close to the Milky Way. The remnant is likely the result of a Type Ia supernova explosion; this category of supernovae is formed from the death of a white dwarf star, which grows and grows by siphoning material from a stellar companion until it reaches a critical mass and then explodes.
As they always form via a specific mechanism — when the white dwarf hits a particular mass — these explosions always have a well-known luminosity, and are thus used as markers (standard candles) for scientists to obtain and measure distances throughout the Universe.
Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA