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Hubble Heritage Archive: The Story of Hoag’s Object By Ray Lucas (STScI)

1 Aug 2019, 14:30 UTC
Hubble Heritage Archive: The Story of Hoag’s Object By Ray Lucas (STScI)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It was 1950
when astronomer Art Hoag published the first description of this object which has
come to be named after him. Although he thought it most likely resembled a
planetary nebula in some ways, he was skeptical because the size of the object
and the properties of its nucleus in comparison to the rest of the object were
not typical of planetary nebulae. And, unlike the outer shell of gas or
so-called “planetary” part of planetary nebulae, the “halo”
as he termed it, was not glowing with light emitted at specific wavelengths
typical of atomic elements normally found in planetary nebulae. Also, the
object was at a higher galactic latitude than the typical location of most
known planetary nebulae in our galaxy. Therefore, he thought that it was
perhaps some new example of a “pathological” galaxy.

Though he
thought it possible that there was some optical diffraction effect or perhaps
even a gravitational lens system on display, he estimated that the mass would
have to be much greater than the mass of a normal galaxy, and therefore a
gravitational lens was very unlikely. Other astronomers calculated that the
grain size would also have to be very unusual compared ...

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