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Hoag's Object

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 Ray Lucas.


Ground-based image taken with the Mt. Palomar 200" telecope. Image courtesy of François Schweizer (OCIW)

Hoag's Object, An article by Ray Lucas (STScI)

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