Black-eyed galaxies are deep and mysterious with interlocking rings of inner and outer dust

The Hubble Telescope has shared a picture of galaxy NGC 4826, known as the “black-eyed” galaxy because of its unique image – a spectacular ring of dark dust surrounding a bright inner core.

The motion of its inner dust ring is unique: the outer ring of dust and the inner ring of dust circle the center of the planetary system in opposite directions. New stars are being born in the zone bordering between the two regions rotating in different directions.

Astronomers speculate that this may be the result of a merger between the bright central core of the galaxy, M64, and a surrounding satellite galaxy about a billion years ago.

The galaxy is 17 million light-years from Earth, in the northern sky in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is best observed in May each year at an apparent magnitude of 9.8, and can be seen with a medium-sized telescope.