Spring 2017

Out of this world

Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil, a U of M graduate student and UMD teaching assistant, discovered a new Hoag-type galaxy.
Photography by Valerie Coit

University of Minnesota graduate student Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil’s fascination with the secrets of the universe led to her unveiling a new galaxy—one unlike anything astronomers have seen before. 

The star system is a Hoag-type galaxy—a variety that makes up less than 0.1 percent of all observed galaxies. Hoag-type galaxies are round cores surrounded by a circular ring. They appear to have nothing visibly connecting them. Furthermore, this galaxy has a second inner diffuse ring, which really makes it one of a kind. 

A recipient of the Dr. Rusty Barceló Scholarship and teaching assistant at the U of M Duluth, Mutlu-Pakdil was lead author of the paper describing her find.