PGC1000714: A Brand-New Rare Ring Galaxy Discovered

First Posted: Jan 06, 2017 03:00 AM EST

The scientists identified a new and rare type of ring galaxy, which they called PGC 1000714. It is about 359 million lightyears away from planet Earth.

The discovery was printed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It was led by scientists at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This galaxy has a distinct circular structure and classified as a Hoag-type galaxy. It has an elliptical core surrounded by two circular rings.

Ring galaxies are very unusual. Patrick Treuthardt, an astrophysicist at the North Carolina Museum of natural Sciences, said that it was like spotting a snow leopard or some other rare and elusive animal. He further said that 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. Meanwhile, Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil, the lead author of the study at Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, said that less than 0.1 percent of all observed galaxies are Hoag-type galaxies.

The researchers examined the PGC 1000714 and discovered that the outer ring of blue stars is only about 0.13 billion years old. Meanwhile, the inner red core is about 5.5 billion years old. The team used the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile in analyzing the new galaxy, according to Science Alert.

Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil explained that the various colors of the inner and outer ring suggest that this galaxy has experienced two different formation periods. She further explained that from these initial single snapshot in time, it is impossible to know how the rings of this galaxy were formed.

The formation of usual galaxies and how they evolve are not yet fully understood. It needs more snapshot views of other galaxies to comprehend how they formed and evolved. The team said that the outer ring might be the result of this galaxy incorporating portions of a once nearby gas-rich dwarf galaxy, according to EurekAlert.

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