This nebula looks like a hand reaching out to grab the stars above it... and that fanciful explanation is as good as any astronomers have come up with to explain that baffling ghostly shape in the center of the image.

Nebula IRAS 05437 2502 (click the image up top for a closer look) is located in the constellation of Taurus, near the center of the Milky Way's galactic plane. Unlike a lot of the cosmic phenomena the Hubble Telescope has photographed, this nebula hasn't received much attention and scientists still aren't quite sure what's creating its more striking features, like the extremely bright upside-down "V." As Hubble explains:

At first glance it appears to be a small, rather isolated, region of star formation and one might assume that the effects of fierce ultraviolet radiation from bright young stars probably were the cause of the eye-catching shapes of the gas. However, the bright boomerang-shaped feature may tell a more dramatic tale. The interaction of a high velocity young star and the cloud of gas and dust may have created this unusually sharp-edged bright arc. Such a reckless star would have been ejected from the distant young cluster where it was born and would travel at 200 000 km/hour or more through the nebula.


So, we've already found the mysterious eye of the universe, and now we've found the mysterious hand of the universe. Here's hoping we find the universe's foot next.

[Hubble via Telegraph]