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Hubble telescope sends back photos of 'twisters'

January 22, 1997
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EST

(CNN) -- Twisters aren't just a fascination for weather-watchers on Earth. Scientists released dramatic pictures Wednesday of interstellar "twisters" that were photographed by the Hubble telescope.

The twisters are swirling in the center of the Lagoon nebula, which is thought to be a star-birth region about 5,000 light years from Earth.

The nebula is a huge gas cloud surrounding O Herchel 36, a central bright star. The twisters snaking along the sides of the star are funnels of gas created when the hot surfaces of clouds interract with their cold interiors.

Scientists say that while the twisters may resemble tornadoes, more study is needed to determine if they act like them, as well. The photos are the most recent pictures snapped by Hubble.

The shuttle Discovery is scheduled to blast off February 11 on the second Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. Space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth Wednesday after a 10-day mission.



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