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Encyclopedia > Ring galaxy

A ring galaxy is a galaxy with a ring-like appearance. The ring consists of massive, relatively young blue stars, which are extremely bright. The central region contains relatively little luminous matter. Astronomers believe that ring galaxies are formed when a smaller galaxy passes through the center of a larger galaxy. Because most of a galaxy consists of empty space, this "collision" rarely results in any actual collisions between stars. However the gravitational disruptions caused by such an event could cause a wave of star formation to move through the larger galaxy.


Hoag's Object, discovered by Art Hoag in 1950 is an example of such a galaxy.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Galaxy - MSN Encarta (936 words)
Thousands of galaxies were identified and cataloged by the British astronomers Sir William Herschel, Caroline Herschel, and Sir John Herschel, during the early part of the 19th century.
This was interpreted by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble as evidence that all galaxies are moving away from one another and led to the conclusion that the universe is expanding.
In viewing a galaxy with a telescope, inferring its distance is impossible, for it may be a gigantic galaxy at a large distance or a smaller one closer to Earth.
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