Astronomers photograph rare double ring galaxy

See those photos above? That’s our first look at PGC 1000714, a galaxy 359 million light-years away from our planet that’s unlike most of the galaxies we’ve observed before. While most galaxies we know are spirals like our own, PGC 1000714 is more similar to Hoag’s Object that was discovered back in 1950. They’re both ring galaxies characterized by a nucleus surrounded by a star-forming outer ring, except this one has two outer bands instead of one.

Astronomers from the University of Minnesota Duluth and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences found the second ring when they used a large diameter telescope in Chile to observe the unique structure. They collected multi-waveband images of PGC 1000714 to determine the ages of its nucleus and bluish outer band — in the end, they found both the answers to their questions and a fainter, reddish inner ring.

Since the rings are regions where stars form from colliding gas, their different colors suggest that the galaxy experienced two different formation periods. The red inner ring is older and probably much closer in age to the 5.5-billion-year-old red nucleus, while the blue outer band has only been around for 0.13 billion years.

The astronomers don’t think they can figure out how the rings formed based on the data they have. They believe, however, that the outer band could be a result of incorporating a gas-rich dwarf galaxy that used to be nearby. According to project lead Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil, “less than 0.1% of all observed galaxies are Hoag-type galaxies.” By observing all the rare ones we find, we learn more about how galaxies form and evolve.

Source: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On