A nearly perfect ring of hot, blue stars pinwheels
about the yellow nucleus of an unusual galaxy known as Hoag's Object. This image
from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures a face-on view of the galaxy's ring
of stars, revealing more detail than any existing photo of this object. The
entire galaxy is about 120,000 light-years wide, which is slightly larger than
our Milky Way Galaxy. The blue ring, which is dominated by clusters of young,
massive stars, contrasts sharply with the yellow nucleus of mostly older stars.
What appears to be a "gap" separating the two stellar populations may actually
contain some star clusters that are almost too faint to see. Curiously, an
object that bears an uncanny resemblance to Hoag's Object can be seen in the gap
at the one o'clock position. The object is probably a background ring galaxy.