NASA has released a perplexing image of an almost perfectly ring-shaped galaxy, with a puzzling question accompanying the capture: “Is this one galaxy or two?”
The question has been asked ever since 1950 when astronomer Arthur Hoag discovered the peculiar object located outside our galaxy. The image depicts an outside ring that is surrounded by bright blue stars, but in the center of it lays a rather puzzling view. The core holds a sphere of redder stars, which NASA claims are much older than the blue ones.
There is a gap between these two objects, appearing to be almost entirely dark, and scientists are baffled as to why and how is this possible. This peculiar finding is now known as ‘Hoag’s Object,’ but no one knows yet how it could have possibly taken shape.
A Puzzling Constellation
Some specialists have theorized that Hoag’s Object took form as a result of a galaxy collision that took place billions of years ago. What they know, however, according to measurements, is that the object spans for approximately 100,000 light-years and is located about 600 million light-years from Earth. The precise location must be, as per astronomers who conducted numerous analyses on it, near the Serpens constellation.
Serpens (which means ‘the serpent’ in Greek) constellation, is an array of stars located in the northern hemisphere. The constellation was among the 48 other galaxies listed by the 2-nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 contemporary constellations found in the records of the International Astronomical Union.
The image released by the space agency clearly shows the second ring galaxy in the dark gap between the blue ring and the core mass. It can be spotted if you look to where seven o’clock would be if the central constellation was a clock face.
The puzzling photo was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and has been reprocessed not long ago, utilizing an artificially intelligent de-noising algorithm.