A white circular structure ringed with pink clusters of old stars, a bright star to the right and various distant galaxies

Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Galaxies can take many forms — elliptical blobs, swirling spiral arms, bulges, and disks are all known components of the wide range of galaxies we have observed using telescopes like the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. However, some of the more intriguing objects in the sky around us include ring galaxies like the one pictured above — Zw II 28.

Ring galaxies are mysterious objects. They are thought to form when one galaxy slices through the disk of another, larger, one — as galaxies are mostly empty space, this collision is not as aggressive or as destructive as one might imagine. The likelihood of two stars physically colliding is minimal, and it is instead the gravitational effects of the two galaxies that cause the disruption.

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