This ‘polar ring’ galaxy looks like an eye. Others might be hiding in plain sight

Certain rings encircling galaxies might not be as rare as once thought

A composite image of the starry disk of galaxy NGC 4632.

The starry disk of galaxy NGC 4632, shown in this composite image, is encircled by what’s probably a rare “polar ring” of mostly hydrogen gas visible only at radio wavelengths.

N. Deg et al/Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2023

It’s big. It’s beautiful. It looks a bit like a sparkly, starry, slightly smooshed Eye of Sauron.