Image credit: NaturalSciences.org
Researchers at University of Minnesota Duluth and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered a rare ring like galaxy that has never been seen before. Named PGC 1000714, it is located about 359 million light-years and appears to belong to a class of rarely observed, Hoag-type galaxies. Typical galaxies of this class contain an external circle of young stars surrounding an galactic core. In this case, the older core is actually in the middle of two star rings, not one.
“Less than 0.1% of all observed galaxies are Hoag-type galaxies,” says Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil, lead author of a paper on this work and a graduate student at the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, University of Minnesota Twin Cities and University of Minnesota Duluth. Hoag-type galaxies are round cores surrounded by a circular ring, with nothing visibly connecting them. The majority of observed galaxies are disc-shaped like our own Milky Way. Galaxies with unusual appearances give astronomers unique insights into how galaxies are formed and change.
Ring galaxies per se are incredibly uncommon, so when these researchers found PGC 1000714 featuring two of these star rings, they knew they had something pretty special on their hands.
“A Hoag-type galaxy, one with a single circular ring surrounding a round core, is already very rare, but finding one with potentially two very regular rings is quite unique.”
Story continues on next page with a clear photo of a Hoag’s object and a video about the discovery…