WASHINGTON (SBG) — A team of scientists has discovered a galaxy that looks so good you could eat it.
Well, don't ... because consuming a giant, fiery, donut-shaped galaxy would be super painful, but the discovery could help us understand more about how galactic structures form and evolve.
The newly discovered galaxy, named R-55-19, is a rare type of galaxy, but has a similar mass to our own Milky Way.
Astronomers were able to capture an image of the galaxy and can now show us what it looked like 11 billion years ago, according to a press release from The Arc Center of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D).
So, why 11 billion years? That's how many light-years the galaxy is from our solar system. To put that in perspective, it's equivalent to roughly 66 trillion miles. Talk about a mind-boggling concept!
The hole at the center doesn't look like much in pictures, but experts say its diameter is 2 billion times longer than the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
"It is making stars at a rate 50 times greater than the Milky Way," lead researcher Tiantian Yuan told CNN. "Most of that activity is taking place on its ring -- so it truly is a ring of fire."
The paper could help astronomers understand how our own Milky Way formed. The discovery is described in full in the journal Nature Astronomy.