New Hoag Type Galaxies in News

IAS Prelims 2023

Hoag-type galaxies are round cores surrounded by a circular ring, with nothing visibly connecting them. Less than 0.1% of all observed galaxies are Hoag-type galaxies.

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.

The researchers collected multi-waveband images of the galaxy, which is only easily observable in the Southern Hemisphere, using a large diameter telescope in the Chilean mountains. These images were used to determine the ages of the two main features of the galaxy, the outer ring and the central body.

While the researchers found a blue and young (0.13 billion years) outer ring, surrounding a red and older (5.5 billion years) central core, they were surprised to uncover evidence for second inner ring around the central body.

To document this second ring, researchers took their images and subtracted out a model of the core. This allowed them to observe and measure the obscured, second inner ring structure.

Galaxy rings are regions where stars have formed from colliding gas. The different colors of the inner and outer ring suggest that this galaxy has experienced two different formation periods.

While galaxy shapes can be the product of internal or external environmental interactions, the authors speculate that the outer ring may be the result of this galaxy incorporating portions of a once nearby gas-rich dwarf galaxy. They also say that inferring the history of the older inner ring would require the collection of higher-resolution infrared data.