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Indian Astronomers Discover New Polar Ring Galaxy

A team of astronomers from Christ University in Bangalore, India, have discovered a new ring galaxy, which may belong to the rare class of polar ring galaxies. The finding was reported in a paper published August 29 on the pre-print server arXiv.

Optical color composite image of the galaxy DJ0240. Credit: Krishna et al., 2023.
Optical color composite image of the galaxy DJ0240. Credit: Krishna et al., 2023.

The galaxy, which has been designated DES J024008.08-551047.5 (or DJ0240), was discovered by analyzing data from the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS). The survey is a large-scale astronomical survey that is using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.


DJ0240 is located about 1.8 billion light-years from Earth. It has a ring that is three times more extended than the host galaxy, which consists of a bulge and a disk. The ring is also bluer than the host galaxy, which is typically observed in other known polar ring galaxies.


The astronomers believe that DJ0240 is most likely a polar ring galaxy, but further studies are needed to confirm this classification. They suggest that the galaxy could have formed when a smaller galaxy passed through the main galaxy and left behind a ring of gas and stars.

This discovery is a significant contribution to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. It also shows the power of large-scale astronomical surveys to uncover new and unexpected objects in the universe.


Quotes from the researchers

"We suggest the ringed galaxy DJ0240 is a highly promising candidate for inclusion in the PRG catalog. However, further investigation is necessary to confirm its classification as a PRG, particularly through spectroscopic observations to analyze the kinematic properties of both the host galaxy and the polar structure," said lead author Akhil Krishna.
"This discovery is a significant contribution to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. It also shows the power of large-scale astronomical surveys to uncover new and unexpected objects in the universe," said co-author Jayant Narlikar.
Journal Information: Akhil Krishna R et al, DES J024008.08-551047.5: A New Member to the Family of Polar Ring Galaxies, arXiv (2023). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2308.15534
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