back to article Astroboffins glimpse sighting of ultra-rare circular galaxy

A rarer-than-rare galaxy 359 million light years away from Earth has been spotted by physicists. Designated PGC 1000714 [paywalled], the galaxy is a ring-shape system orbiting a cooler centre without any connection between the two – a formation referred to as Hoag's Object. Just 0.1 per cent of all observed galaxies are Hoag- …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Space is awesome

    But capturing mass from another galaxy and ending up with a near-perfect ring ? The odds must be properly astronomical.

    I can't wait for the explanation on this. It cannot not be interesting.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Space is awesome

      Up vote for excellent use of a double negative.

      1. Spudley

        Re: Space is awesome

        Up vote for excellent use of a double negative.

        Pah. Everyone knows that double-negatives are a real no-no.

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re real no-no

          yeah-yeah so they are.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Space is awesome - Up vote for excellent use of a double negative.

          "and in some English spoken usages"

          ie all the time in East Anglia , eg "No, they haven't got nothing" ('hint got narthin' as it is pronounced)

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Space is awesome - Up vote for excellent use of a double negative.

            ie all the time in East Anglia , eg "No, they haven't got nothing" ('hint got narthin' as it is pronounced)

            So, do yor farr keep a dickie bor? Enquiring minds demand to know.

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Space is awesome

        Additional up-vote for statistics pun.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: odds not that odd

      Take a look at the asteroid belt, or the rings of Saturn. Gravity is good at making rings.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: odds not that odd

        Take a look at the asteroid belt, or the rings of Saturn. Gravity is good at making rings.

        Take a look at Jupiter, the trojan asteroids, and Saturn's shepherd moons for why gravity alone isn't what makes rings stable. If we saw a galaxy like this with whatever the galactic-scale equivalent of a shepherd moon would be, the only thing which would fit the bill is a supermassive black hole. We know these exist a the centre of most, if not all, galaxies (including our own), but ring formation a-la-Saturn would require another in orbit close to the ring (or more likely a pair, one inside and one outside). Supermassive black holes, despite their name, do tend to be somewhat conspicuous, even when not actively consuming matter, due to their gravitational lensing effect. On this scale, too, they would probably have to be moving at a relativistic speed to keep a ring stable.

    3. paulc

      Re: Space is awesome

      >The odds must be properly astronomical.

      well with a big enough universe...

    4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Space is awesome

      near perfect circle?

      So... someone correct me if I'm wrong... but in order to have a perfect circle, we would have to be viewing the orbit directly perpendicular to the object. Like you're looking down the barrel of a gun.

      So... now there's a blue shift? ... meaning objects are approaching?

  2. Marc 25
    Coat

    shuda

    If you like the core, you shoulda put a ring on it

    suggest renaming it to the Beyonce galaxy/

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Joke

    Obvious really...

    ..It's the start of a bloody big Dyson sphere.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Obvious really...

      Looking at the age, it's actually a Ringworld where someone started a really big nuclear war with total first strike capability.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Obvious really...

      And we're descendants of the Pak. But we don't have our own Protector so we're dead meat.

  4. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    It may be worth noting that random collisions of various gasses coming out of my ring during the recent feeding-frenzied festive period, whilst not exhibiting exactly the same visual results to those shown above, did, however, cause dramatic acceleration upon nearby relative objects (aunts and uncles etc) which were seen to separate away from the center of the event described at dramatic speeds not previously observed. Just saying.

    1. Big John Silver badge
      Go

      Everything you say falls in line with the General Theory of Relatives.

      Um, did they form a hot outer ring?

  5. Steve Graham
    Angel

    Just to be clear, the photo is of the original Hoag's Object. (Just in case you were trying to make out the double ring.)

    But what you can see is a second ring galaxy through the gap in the first one.

  6. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Ringalaxy?

    Looks like Larry Niven has the subject for his next novel series

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Shakes
    Coat

    This is outdated information. Like, 359 million years outdated.

  9. flearider

    simples !!!!

    it's whats left over from a reversed black hole ..

    after sucking in for millions of yrs it farted and a glorious orange ball was made

    and the rest of the galaxy live happy ever after ..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "No connection between the two"

    What would constitute a connection ? - surely there would always be almost totally empty space between them ?

    1. Ragarath

      Re: "No connection between the two"

      But there is a connection, you see, and the article is wrong. You and I may not be able to see it but gravity is a compelling thing.

      (Yes I know a physical connection was meant but it was not specified. You need to be exact with these things)

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: "No connection between the two"

        Yes I know a physical connection was meant

        What's a physical connection when it comes to astronomical objects? Hint: you have 4 forces to choose from of which 2 are available at large scales, gravity and the EM force. Usually, gravity is by far the most important.

        Physics: being counterintuitive since De revolutionibus orbium caelestium and getting more so as time goes on.

    2. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "No connection between the two"

      Probably don't need an ethernet connection any more - any advanced civilisation would use something like zigbee, a secure ring of things if you like. All that taught redundant cat 5 might account for the circularity though ...

      All your galaxies are belong to us ...... Plz pays 6 ninghies for usz to unlocks .....

  11. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Coat

    Which one was the Hoag's object again?

    Q: Which one was the Hoag's object again?

    A: It's the one I've ringed on the picture.

    Coat. Fetch. Gone.

  12. Who? Me?
    Meh

    Two theories...

    1 - Gravitational lensing effect

    2 - Massive 'Smoke ring' - red shift on inner mass rolling away and blue shift on outer mass rolling towards.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Two theories...

      1 - Easily detectable.

      2 - Easily detectable.

      The lack of any mention of either suggests that the galaxy is not remarkable in these respects.

    2. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Two theories... @whome

      You are Gandalf and I claim my five pounds ....

  13. paulc

    Quick Googling gives pictures...

    of the actual object, not Hoags Object

    http://phys.org/news/2017-01-extremely-rare-galaxy.html

  14. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ultra-rare, rarer-than-rare ... or not quite common-as-muck?

    So one in a thousand (0.1 per cent) is considered ultra-rare and/or rarer-than-rare? Not quite as rare as say carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 400 ppm (0.04 percent). Yet there are two of these rare objects shown in the cover picture.

    And why use "0.13 billion years" for the ring's age, is it more meaningful than say "130 million years old"?

    1. Aedile

      Re: Ultra-rare, rarer-than-rare ... or not quite common-as-muck?

      I figured they used 0.13 billion years instead of 130 million to have consistant units when they said the inner core was 5.5 billion years old.

  15. Tikimon Silver badge
    Devil

    AIM HERE

    Classic bulls-eye. I shudder to think of what's being fired at it, but I'm glad it's far away.

    Perhaps someone with a better grasp of astrophysics would know if there's any chance of an orbiting black hole sweeping a clear lane? That would surely be a rare event if so. Not an informed guess, just noodling...

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: AIM HERE

      Actually you may be on target. Galaxy sims show that when a massive object (big black hole or small galaxy) passes thru a disk galaxy near the center and perpendicular to the disk plane, the mass of the intruder tends to draw in some of the target galaxy radially as it goes thru.

      The intruder then continues on, leaving a lot of mass with a large inward radial component. The stars and gas clouds will first contract to a small ring (prevented from making a tiny clump due to angular momentum) and then that radial component changes sign and the small ring expands into a very large ring.

      The ring's gas and dust collides with other gas clouds on the way out and triggers hot star formation in the ring's outer edge.

    2. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: AIM HERE

      You'll probably find all the answers in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory in a basement with a notice on the door regarding the dangers of leopards ....

      El reg - we need a large yellow starship icon, for the more poetic among us, you know.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: AIM HERE

        In a Galaxy far away, they have these things called Deathstars. I suspect that someone was busy.

  16. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    someone had to say it

    It's impressive; but not nearly as much as the rings around Uranus.

  17. x 7 Silver badge

    I thought ringpiece galaxies held large amounts of methane

  18. WibbleMe

    Like a smoke ring. Is it possible that its flown through a black hole dead center.

  19. This display name is already taken

    Could this be a Type II I civilisation?

    The definition of a Kardashev Type III civilisation can "control energy on the scale of its entire host galaxy".

    Perhaps they can (could) modify the structure to optimise energy extraction?

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