Jump to content
Jambands.ca

Space DNA


boogieknight
 Share

Recommended Posts

'DNA' nebula found in Milky Way

vert.dna.nebula.jpg

The elongated double helix nebula stretches 80 light years in length

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.

DNA, which forms the basic material in chromosomes, has a molecule that looks like a twisted ladder, known as a double helix.

The strands of the nebula may be torqued by twisted magnetic fields at the Milky Way's center, Morris said by telephone.

These magnetic fields are indirectly spawned by the gaping black hole at the galactic heart, he said. Black holes are massive matter-sucking drains in space, pulling in everything around them so powerfully that not even light can escape.

But before the matter falls into the black hole, it swirls around its edges. This rotation twists the magnetic fields, which in turn twist the nebula's strands, Morris said.

The nebula is relatively close to the black hole, just 300 light-years away. Earth is more than 25,000 light-years away.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detects the infrared energy emitted by objects in space with high sensitivity and resolution, enabling it to clearly see the nebula's distinctive shape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...