What exactly is Hoag's Object? This strange
smoke-ring-like object in the constellation
Serpens has long been something of a mystery.
Could it be a galaxy with a ring which
resulted from the dynamical effects of
a central bar? Or could it perhaps be
a collisional ring galaxy where one galaxy
has collided face-on with another causing
a "splash" or "ripple" effect? Or might
it be a galaxy with an orbiting ring of
accreted material remaining from another
galaxy which was passing by and was shredded
and captured when it came too close to
the galaxy at the center of Hoag's Object?
Find the answers to these questions in
the below article by STScI astronomer
Ground-based image taken with the Mt.
Palomar 200" telecope. Image
courtesy of François Schweizer