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Blutwölfin
Saturday, March 18th, 2006, 01:01 PM
'DNA' nebula found in Milky Way

Cosmic nebulae usually look like blobs in space, but astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope reported on Wednesday they have found a nebula twisted like the double helix of DNA.

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2006/TECH/space/03/16/helix.picture.reut/vert.dna.nebula.jpg

"Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said Mark Morris of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Most nebulae are "formless, amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas," Morris said in a statement, adding that this one "indicates a high degree of order."

The discovery of the twisted nebula, which stretches across 80 light-years at the center of the Milky Way, the galaxy that includes Earth, was reported in the current edition of the journal Nature.

A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers), the distance light travels in a year.

"We see two intertwining strands wrapped around each other as in a DNA molecule," said Morris, lead author of the Nature article.


Read more (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/03/16/helix.picture.reut/index.html)