Wednesday, March 15, 2006

DNA nebula adds new spin to theories

"Magnetic forces at the center of the galaxy have twisted a nebula into the shape of DNA, a new study reveals.

False color image

The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.

Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said the study's lead author, Mark Morris of the University of California at Los Angeles. "Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas -- space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order.

These observations, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are detailed in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature."

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