A rare galaxy with two outer rings surrounding a red core at a distance of 359 million light years away from Earth has been observed by scientists for the first time.
The galaxy is named PGC 1000714. It appears to belong to belong to a class of Hoag-type galaxies, that are rarely observed.
It possesses a well-defined elliptical-like core and is surrounded by two circular rings.
“Less than 0.1 per cent of all observed galaxies are Hoag-type galaxies” said Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil, a graduate student at University of Minnesota in the U.S.
Hoag-type galaxies are round shaped cores that are surrounded by circular with nothing seen to be connecting them. Majority of galaxies that are seen are disc-shaped like our Milky Way. Differently shaped galaxies give scientists more information on how galaxies are formed.
Multi-waveband images of the galaxy have been collected by the researchers, only easily avaiulable in Southern Hemisphere, using a telescope with large diameter in the mountains of Chile.
These images were taken in use to find out the age of two main features of the galaxy, namely outer ring and central body.
Researchers found a blue and young outer ring 0.13 billion years old that surrounded a red and older central core, 5.5 billion years old. While they were amazed to find the evidence for second inner ring around central body.
In order to document the second ring, researchers subtracted out a model from their collected images. And by this they were able to measure second inner ring structure.
“We’ve observed galaxies with a blue ring around a central red body before, the most well-known of these is Hoag’s object. However the unique feature of this galaxy is what appears to be an older diffuse red inner ring,” said Patrick Treuthardt an astrophysicist at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.