A graduate student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth was studying a galaxy about 359 million light years away when she realized she was looking at something very unusual.
Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil was watching a Hoag-type galaxy called PGC 100714.
Hoag-type galaxies themselves are rare — they're made up of an elliptical core surrounded by a circular ring of matter. But this one, Pakdil noticed, had a second ring around it.
Her work was recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Pakdil joined MPR News host Tom Weber to talk about starting her career with a scientific discovery. They're joined by the co-author of Pakdil's study, Marc Seigar, associate dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering at UMD.