Double Helix Nebula
|Double Helix Nebula|
Spitzer Space Telescope image with artificial coloration
|Observation data: J2000 epoch|
|See also: Diffuse nebula, Lists of nebulae|
The Double Helix Nebula is a gaseous nebula near the center of our galaxy. It is thought to have been distorted by magnetic torsion into the shape of two connected spirals, known popularly as a double helix, akin to the shape of DNA.
The nebula was discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The segment seen so far is thought to be 80 light years long, 300 light years from the supermassive black hole thought to be at the galaxy's center, and 25,000 light years from Earth.
This nebula is seen as circumstantial evidence that the magnetic fields at the center of the galaxy are extremely strong, more than 1,000 times stronger than those of the Sun. If so, they may be driven by the massive disc of gas orbiting the central supermassive black hole.
- Wolpert, Stuart. "Astronomers Report Unprecedented Double Helix Nebula Near Center of the Milky Way". Retrieved 2007-04-22.
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