Is it a galaxy or are they two? This question arose when the astronomer Art Hoag in 1950 found this strange extragalactic object. The outer part of the ring is dominated by bright blue stars, while much more red and probably older stars lie near the center. Between the two is a space that appears in almost complete darkness.
How the Hoag Object was formed is still unknown, although similar objects have been identified and collectively called ring galaxies. The hypotheses of its origin include a collision of galaxies billions of years ago and gravitational interactions involving an unusual core-shaped object.
This photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in July 2001 reveals unprecedented details of the Hoag Object and could give life to a better understanding. The Hoag Object expands to around 100,000 light years and is located around 600 million light years towards the constellation of the Serpent. Coincidentally and visible in empty space is another ring galaxy, which is probably located at a farther distance.
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